I was reading a novel the other day and came across a passage that struck me. A girl is seeing her father in a new way. She fears he is cheating on her mother. And she says that she sees “…the inevitable space between father and man.” What a description. There is an image we always project as fathers. And eventually every child has to realize that his dad isn’t really that guy, he’s just a normal guy. A guy who is hateful sometimes. A guy who struggles. A guy who loses his temper. There is an “inevitable space” between how we portray ourselves as fathers and who we really are.
I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think we may need to be honest with our kids. I don’t mean we need to expose them to things they are not ready for. I just think we should tell the truth. I think we should show them that we fail. So that when they fail, they don’t feel they need to hide it. They may have even learned what to do.
So when I screw up with my kids, which I do fairly regularly, I apologize. I go back and say “I’m sorry” and give them the opportunity to forgive, another valuable skill. I want them to see that I have made a mistake and also to see that this is what you do when you make mistakes.
I don’t want them to grow up and one day realize that I’m not who they thought I was. I want them to learn from my successes but I also want them to learn how to fail. To fail well. I’d like to close that space between father and man. Maybe it’s not so “inevitable.”
3 thoughts on “The Inevitable Space”
Tangential thought, that the space between man and God the Father has been closed. To desire to close the gap is an inspiring way to minister to your childrens. Since we are not perfect, we can only be authentic.
Failing, apologizing, forgiving … those are qualities that foster honesty and intimacy. When fathers practice this with their children, it will make the way much easier for children to run toward their father (and Heavenly Father) when they fail rather than running away and hiding. Great parenting advice!
When kids see the human inperfections in their parents it gives them permission to be mere humans too. When they see their parents acknowledge mistakes, it makes it easier for them to admit their mistakes and handle them appropriately. Being humble isn’t easy, but it’s important. And we must always remember that our kids, and others, are always watching us and paying attention to how we deal with things.