I was afraid of my father growing up. I didn’t want to be in the same room with him for more than 10 mins. I loved the toys he bought but didn’t enjoy the times he brought. Looking back, I think it was because HE was always angry. Maybe it was the fear I sensed my mother had for him, but I think it was something deeper. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this type of relationship. When I looked at my friends, they had the same type of FEAR-DREAD relationships with their dads. We would take off in a sprint the minute we saw or heard our fathers’ cars approaching. No matter what we were doing, we were sure we were going to get some type of criticism or even worse, smacking. Whenever any china ware broke, oh boy you would get it, forget that it wasn’t intentional. It was psychological trauma but it was the era in which we grew up, the only thing we knew
We formed a club; siblings, friends, cousins and playmates with so much in common that it was inevitable. There were long conversations about how when we grew up, we would be doctors and people of influence and affluence. We would get out of the income brackets our parents were stuck in. We would be better parents than our parents in all aspects. We would listen to our children, our spouses would really be better halves and not just trophies or cowering spouses. We were going to do everything in opposition to the way our parents conducted themselves. We would marry for love and not just because the community thought it would be a good idea. We would never cheat on our spouses like our fathers did. Things were going to be so different. We promised ourselves. These are the memories that come to mind when I think of the past.
MEMORIES ARE THE KEY NOT TO THE PAST BUT TO THE FUTURE – Corrie Ten Boom
Now as a father, I’m sitting here watching my son at his Taekwondo class and wondering if I’ve delivered on my promise. The short answer is No!. I find that I may be becoming what I feared and dreaded in my father – I don’t listen like there’s no one else in the room, I’m critical and impatient, I sometimes demand adult responses from a child. I tap him on the head whenever he is distracted or not obeying me even when I didn’t set out to do that How hypocritical you might say? You are correct. Just now I gave him a thumbs up on a move that he made and he gave a huge smile back. It wasn’t an excellent execution but you should see the effort he put into his next attempt. I noticed him look in my direction before another attempt.
The question we need to ask ourselves is the drive to provide for our family getting in the way of raising our family? What’s the point in working so hard everyday at work for a family that you don’t know and in return don’t know you. I’m talking mainly to men but some women are guilty of this also. This is literally throwing away the baby with the bathwater! I am not so critical of my father anymore.
GOOD PARENTS BECOME WHAT THEIR CHILDREN NEED – Orson Scott Card.
Many years have passed since those long conversations with my club of like-minded teens. When I look on how my co-conspirators are faring, most aren’t doing much better some are doing a lot worse. I realize that we have become what we feared the most. We have become the thing we said we would never be, hypocritical parents. We are living in fractured families and with broken trusts but smiling to everyone as though everything is fine. We are fast becoming adept liars. Lying to ourselves, our spouses and our offspring. We are drifting apart while living in close proximity.
Why? Why? Why?
Is it because of what meager success we seem to have attained?
Is it because we think we are more important than we really are?
Is it because we think we will never have to be held accountable? Or is it simply that we have forgotten where we came from and who we are ?
Has innocence been sacrificed on the altar of ambition?
Do we dread being different so much that we turn our backs on the truth we know and compromise?
I don’t know. All I can say is that this has become the new normal. How sad that the generation that was supposed to usher in a change is falling and failing to the same Giant. THE SINS OF THE FATHER have been visited on the sons.
HE COMMITTED THE SAME SINS AS HIS FATHER BEFORE HIM, AND HE WAS NOT FAITHFUL TO THE LORD HIS GOD – 1 Kings 15:3
This verse is talking about King Abijam, who only reigned in Judah for 3 short years. His father, King Rehoboam’s reign was filled with “doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord”. Idol worship and sexual sin. “The people imitated the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites” (1 Kings 14:24). We have just as many idols now as they did; substitute the name “Baal” with the dollar ($) and “Asherah” with lust and we are right where they were maybe worse. Abijam copying his father’s sins cost him his kingdom. What will copying ours cost us?
We need to take a good albeit critical look at how we are living today. Are we repeating the mistakes of the past in our lives? Are we perpetuating the same treatment meted out to us on our children?
All Hope is not lost. There is still time to turn around the tide. It starts with our admitting we can do better. It doesn’t matter where you are what matters is what you are willing to do to get to where you need to be.
GOOD BETTER BEST. NEVER LET IT REST. TIL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR BEST – St Jerome
It continues with our making choices. Choices to improve our interactions with our families, deciding that nothing will rob your family of the time with YOU, which they deserve.
It culminates in sincere COMMUNICATION. Talking to your spouse and kids not just in words but also in actions. Have the courage to tell them the truth, let them see you vulnerable. Let them know you’ll die for them if needed. Somehow we seem to believe that hiding the truth will somehow make things better. It. Never. Does.
Raising a Godly family is difficult and complicated. The stakes have never been higher. The pressure to destroy the family unit never higher, don’t become a negative statistic
GIVE ME AN UNDERSTANDING HEART SO THAT I CAN GOVERN YOUR PEOPLE WELL AND KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG. – Solomon. 1 Kings 3: