Sunday, 23 January 2011

498 Words on Wounding Your Children

In “Wild At Heart,” John Eldredge talks about the wound a father gives to his son. Essentially, no matter how hard we as fathers try, because of our brokenness (our own wound) we’re going to somehow wound our children. We overcompensate for our own shortcomings and our children bear the brunt of it.

To say I’m broken is an understatement. I’m pretty sure Paul got it wrong in I Timothy. He’s the second worst sinner behind me. And out the laundry list of my sins, the thing I’ve struggled with the most lately is being unkind to my children. It’s a daily battle for me not to drag my own personal frustrations and shortcomings home and project them onto my children. I inevitably lose that battle. It is the thing I hate the most about myself, knowing that I’m wounding them, knowing that I’m presently forming their inadequacies.

The good news is there’s something I can do about it. Every day, every moment creates a new opportunity for me to repent and work on repairing the damage I’ve done. And I do. One of the things I’ve always worked hard at is asking forgiveness of my children whenever I am unkind to them. I let them know that whatever I’ve done—raising my voice, cutting them off, being rude, ignoring them—is not okay. I tell them how sorry I am and ask them to forgive me. So while I’m not satisfied with my behavior, I recognize that this is the cost of being broken in a broken world. I will wound my kids, but I can strive against it.

And then Jacob needed glasses.

He is exuberant. He bounces around the house in them and keeps talking about how much better he can see. He picked the titanium kind that you can bend in a pretzel, which he thinks is cool. And they’re the same kind that most of his glasses-wearing friends have. But there is still a part of me that looks at him wearing those glasses…I look at him and I think “I did that to him.” And there’s nothing I can do about it.

The novelty of the glasses will wear off. Someone will make fun of him or he’ll be judged by the way he looks. Unlike my sin, this isn’t a wound I can work on. I can’t repent of this shortcoming I’ve inflicted on him.

I wasn’t made fun of for wearing glasses in the classic sense. No “four-eyes” or anything like that. But it did color my childhood. It put me on the uncool side of the line. And while I think things like this matter less now than ever, I still never want my children to experience it.

I’m sure Lasik or the next technology will be so affordable that he’ll be corrective lens-free before he gets out of high school. And I know it’s nothing. I know there’s A LOT worse to come. But still…

…being broken sucks.

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