Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
~ Carl Jung
What good is Father’s Day if we don’t spend a little time considering the effectiveness of our fathering? Are we doing this thing right? I’m talking big picture. Over the course of the time we have to influence our kids, are we interacting with them in ways that are beyond positive but instead reach the realm of being truly influential?
Do they see in us the kind of parent they want to become?
It’ll all makes sense one day, right? They’ll look back and see that we did the best we could, recognizing those moments where we failed as steps not only in their own growth but in ours as well. Right?
I hope so.
I hope that my son one day understands how difficult it is raising a kid when one doesn’t have all the answers. That confusion usually gets the upper hand and that no amount of talking it out or thinking it through will bring the slightest ray of light to certain situations. That this vice grip of control we keep squeezed around their hearts sometimes seems like the only thing we have left to cling to. And that loosening it means allowing them to grow up, to hold opinions we may not agree with, and to give voice to their own doubts, their own insecurities, and their own stubbornly-embraced attitudes toward the world they inhabit.
It’s when things make no sense that we tend to take the easy way out and provoke them to anger, clumsily stomping our filth-encrusted boot down upon the tenderness that is their glistening soul and driving it down hard. Spirit cracks and fissures widen. And in fear they react . . .
. . . wrapping brooms around poles. Lashing out verbally. Or, perhaps worst of all, turning their exasperation inward. The mantra embeds itself like a virus, “I’m no good!” and infects everything. Every action. Every thought. Every dream.
The field I romp through is strewn with wilting underbrush, a desolation of my own making. And yet, to the detriment of my children, I often fail to see the flowers that are blooming, struggling to reach for the sun. They seek nourishment, as pedals unfurling in the richness only the light of day brings. Too often I tower over them, blocking the path, stomping them into the dirt.
Today, I desire a heart that recognizes ever more profoundly its own frailty, and for the wherewithal to recoil when I hear the horrific sound of ground beginning to break . . .