I am embarrassed to admit that my sons lie to me, disobey me, sneak around and do things I’ve warned them to never do, and even when I am really angry at them, they're nonchalant. They’ve learned that I “cool off” within a few minutes, so they act like nothing has happened and all will be well.
I understand that my bark must be worse than my bite and that my sons have learned that I am a paper tiger when it comes to punishing or following through, but I never thought I would become such a parent. Woe is me!
My father did not suffer from any of my hesitations or scruples when it came to punishing us or taking things from us—and I am frankly are all blessed because of it. So why I fret so much about my boys “feelings”, when I know, full and well, that they are playing me with their feigned expressions of remorse or their arguments that they were unaware that what they were doing was wrong? Truly, my sons deserve Oscars for their performances and I deserve rotten tomatoes.
And yet, despite all of their waywardness, they love me, they are secure in their new home, and I have come to believe that their actions, disappointing as they are to me, are really tests, to see what my “no” really means; I wonder if they are in fact trying to create an algorithm on which rules they can break, which ones they can bend, and which ones will illicit a true “conniption fit” (whatever that is) from me along with unimaginable consequences. They’re like little scientists trying to figure out a chemical theory.
But as good as my earthly father was, my role model is my heavenly Father, and he’s taught me how to respond in a manner that might not be approved by many, but is consistent with how God has parented me. I don’t do all the right things as a dad, that’s obvious. But my hope is that my sons never doubt my love for them—-that’s my goal, not that I never doubt their love for me. My earthly father never demanded that any of us love him—but we all did. And as strict as he was it never occurred to me that he did not love me.
I don’t want to he an indulgent, weak and overly cautious father; I want to wise enough to not give my sons any reason to doubt my love. When I am gone I won’t mind being accused of being “too kind”, but I don’t want to be referenced as having been incredulous. So I am praying for divine intervention in my life and the life of my family every day: “Lord, lead me to become the father to my sons that you are to me! Open my eyes, remove the cobwebs from my mind, let me act circumspectly, bravely and in love—always.”