Fatherhood is by far the best thing that God has ever bestowed upon me. It is, however, a constant struggle. I’m responsible for raising my children in the way that they should go, and I feel like I mess that up a lot. I wouldn’t be able to do it if it weren’t for the amazing grace that is provided to me every day. His new mercies every day. Today is one of those days that I just feel like I have failed miserably.
My oldest son is almost 13 years old. He has ADHD and ODD and can be very disrespectful towards people including myself. He bosses his younger brother and sister around, and they get mad at him for it. It leads to days where there is a lot of stress and tension in the house.
This morning, my almost 4-year-old son was up early. God only knows why, but he is cranky when he doesn’t get enough sleep. So of course this annoys my oldest son to no end and he proceeds to be rude to my youngest. He agitates him to no end and that starts the spiral.
Without going into a lot of detail about how the spiral went down, it ended up with me intervening and eventually losing my temper towards my oldest one. For those of you that know me, I’m not actually one to lose my cool. I find that losing my temper never solves anything and in the end all that is left in hurt feelings. Every time I lose my temper with my kids I am the one who has lost. I have failed to perform my fatherly duties in a way that is glorifying to God.
Anyhow, I told him I wasn’t going to let him to go on the ski trip tomorrow. With him being ODD his response is I don’t care. I know logically and rationally that this isn’t the truth, but he’s been pushing it for some time and all I really want to do is finish getting around and head out to work so that I’m not late. It led to a blow up between the two of us though with him stomping off to his room crying and me leaving for work all out of sorts.
I over-reacted by taking his ski trip away, and I have since backed off of my stance on that, but what gets me is when I give into this. I love that child so dearly and it grieves me when I respond that way. I wouldn’t treat a stranger that way, and it is not the way that I want to respond to him.
I am heartbroken over this today. It isn’t who I am or who I want to be.
Father Forgets by W Livingston Larned speaks really well of how I feel right now.
If my parents read this, please know what I’m about to say isn’t meant as anything against you. I know that you did the best that you could in the circumstances that you were given and that you loved us kids. However, growing up my dad wasn’t around much. He skipped out on a lot of things at the last minute or would have an excuse not to take us for the weekend. I never really saw fatherhood modeled for me as a child. In order to support my brother, sister, and I my mother worked a lot of hours. We really didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her, so I didn’t have much of an example there either.
The one saving grace was my grandmother, but she didn’t really take on a parental role. She also had the patience of a saint. The biggest thing that I learned though, is genuine love. She loved all of us kids equally and I know she was very special to us all and we all miss her dearly.
I swore to myself that I would set a better example for my children. I strive to be there to put them to bed every night. I go to all of their conferences, and I miss as few events as possible. I desperately want to be the father to them that I didn’t get to see as a kid. I want to pour so much love into my children that they have an easy time seeing God’s love for them, but also that when I’m gone I will have left a legacy of love that will last for generations.
There is one last thing I want to add. Being a father has given me insight on God’s love for us that through faith in Christ are his children. I see how much it grieves my heart when my children go through and make mistakes. How much I wish they didn’t have to go through the pain and the consequences of their actions. When I rebuke them it is very hard on me as well. I feel this experience has really shed light on God correcting me in my own life.