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Did you ever have one of those mornings where you felt you needed someone to pull your “dad card?” How about the times where your words and actions trump your proudest dad moments? I have them more than I would like to admit.
I had one of those mornings recently; yesterday, to be exact.
My 2 daughters, whom I LOVE dearly, were arguing with raised voices (an all too familiar sound in the morning) as they were getting ready for school.
“Girls!” I yell up the stairs. “Please stop! Just get ready for school.”
You probably already know where this is going. A few minutes later there is more commotion, raised voices and crying. My frustration gets the best of me and I say some things I regret. I then think; “ok, that is going to come out when they are 16 years old and talking with a counselor.”
The scenes are familiar, and even though my not-so-good response is pretty common for parents, it is MY imperfect response.
No parent is immune to the imperfect response. We brought baggage into our parenting and I am doing the best I can not to pass it on, but at times that can be so difficult. I am reminded of the Scripture where Paul writes, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:15, 24-25)
One of the things I have learned in my years of parenting my own three kids, as well as 75+ others through our experience as house parents, is that God uses me despite myself. We are His option for our kids. He is loaning them to us for such a time as this. I know many parents out there really struggle with this nagging thought of, “I am screwing up my kids.” The truth is that we are all imperfect and God uses us despite our weaknesses and failures.
Before my girls left for school yesterday morning I sat down at our kitchen table and apologized for the words I spoke. I told them how much I valued them. My hope is that He will continue to show up in these moments. I know in the near future when they get into an argument, and they will, I have another opportunity to tell them and show them I value them by teaching and molding their hearts and behaviors.
If we allow God to show up in the imperfect moments of our parenting, His grace and love will also show up. My hope each day is that I will allow the Lord to use me despite my failings so that my kids might see a perfect and loving Heavenly Father.
Roy Baldwin (@baldwin_roy) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family. Follow us on Twitter @DadMattersBlog.
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