I’m not just saying this because I’m married to her, but she is really an amazing mother to our children.
I, on the other hand, often just feel awkward with our children. I know that’s an odd thing to say, but I feel that way sometimes. I don’t feel that way when it comes to matters of faith, or education, or even pop culture (like Doctor Who). I think I’m pretty good at that type of stuff.
But you know where I feel awkward? When we are outside, just hanging out, doing nothing. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
Now, part of that is my overall driven “type A” ADD over-caffeinated personality. I get that totally. I never have done “downtime” well.
But, it hit me while we were outside as a family playing baseball yesterday why I’m so bad at these type of things. I’ve never done before. I didn’t grow up playing baseball or outside stuff with my parents. They were older, daddy drove a truck for a living and just didn’t do that type of thing with me.
Now, please don’t think I’m saying my parents were bad parents. They were great; I’m not complaining at all. I had a great childhood. But it just hit me, I never really did that lazy day hanging out playing when I was a kid.
And now, I struggle as a parent to do it with my kids.
And I don’t like it. I don’t like the way that it makes me feel like a I’m not the kind of dad I’d like to be. So you know what I do?
I do it anyway. I move beyond the awkwardness of it, and play ball. I try my best to goof around. I try my best to laugh and play and turn off the drivenness of my brain and just be present.
You know why? I want Sarah to be that type of mother that does that with her kids. And I want Thomas to be that type of dad that does that with his kids. I want them to do these naturally.
It says this in Numbers 14:18:
‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’
What does that mean? Our kids learn from us. They see us. They watch us. The behavior that we model for them will be the behavior they they do. That’s what this verse is talking about. God doesn’t hold kids responsibility for the parents sins, but more than likely, the sins of the parents will be passed down to the children.
I don’t want that to happen to my kids. I want them to the type of parents one day that I feel like I’m not always. I want them to be amazing. So, I’ve got to be that which I want them to be; as best as I can.
So, I’m learning. I know who I want to be, who I want to become. And so, I do the things that I should, and I be the man (as best that I can) that I want to be.
As parents, we have to move beyond our comfort zones. We have to take risks. We have to make sure that our lives aren’t just for us, but for our kids and our families. We have to try, as best we can, to be the type of parents that we want our kids to become.
We have to have the faith that we want our kids to have, we have to live the virtues we want our kids to have, and we have simply “be” that.
Even when we aren’t good at it. Or feel awkward.
Parenting is hard. But that’s ok. It’s the best thing we’ll ever do.