When your children are small and you say things that they later repeat (think, stubbing your toe and the shameful things that might come out) in many ways it’s cute. It reminds me of the little guy in Jerry Maguire when he leans into Tom Cruise and whispers…well you know.
Often as parents we laugh it off, apologize to our children and then move on.
Fast forward to the years that we are moving into. At 10 and nearly 7, both of my children have ingrained and practiced responses to each other and to us. Lately it has hit me hard as I’ve listened to them with each other.
And above all it’s made me realize that our response to life,
our excitement for life,
our hope for life
is copied in them.
If we walk daily with our heads down, overwhelmed by life
they will too in many ways. They will snap, they will respond impatiently and they will check out of life in the same ways that we do. They will look for the same ways to numb that we as parents do. I long for them to be kind and patient with one another. I long for them to run and hold open the door for each other. I long for them to speak life-giving words to each other.
But honestly, I have to check-in with myself and ask if that’s what I’m doing?
Why should I expect anything different from them?
When I lose myself in frustration, depression, worry or just clear anger at the ways we answer each other in our house I know that there is hope.
And that is where I have to make the change.
I have to move past all that; speak love, act in love, act in repentance and drown the rats that speak lies into my heads.
And smile knowing that every day is a new day and no, I haven’t ruined my children yet.