“We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the rising generation. I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters’ side, but in fact, I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of parents to children than by those of children to parents.” –C. S. Lewis
So there I was, its 7 p.m. the night after Thanksgiving. I’m in the wrestling match of the century with the knotted web of Christmas lights and garland I left as a present from me to myself, last year. My wife and son are in the kitchen doing their best not to laugh as the lights consistently best even my most cunning of attempts to get them to stay on the wall. Tensions are high as I try to string the lights along the corner between two walls; the room is silent. A bead of sweat drips down my face as I slowly place the garland/lights over nail #1. Careful to maintain tension on the garland, I slowly shuffle on my three-step ladder to face the second wall. I gently place the garland over nail #2 ensuring I have an even amount of slack, so it matches the rest of the lights.
Relieved, I breathe in deeply. Suddenly, in a flash of lights and shattered dreams, my kingdom falls. Not only did the corner end come down, all the lights which I had spent the past hour putting up fell off in unison. All at once, the Marine Corps side of me took over, and I let out a chorus of expletives, huffs, grunts, and maybe an adjective or two. I looked over at my wife and son who are still in the kitchen. Both of them had stopped what they were doing to stare at me. My wife asked if she could assist me, as politely as I could I declined. I realized at that moment I had failed, and not just with the lights.
Reflecting back upon my decorating fiasco, I cannot help but feel regret for my actions. Sure, outbursts of anger are human, it happens, but what was I teaching my son? How can I, as a father, correct him when he lashes out in anger when the very source he learned it was me? It reminds me of the movie “A Christmas Story” when Raphe says “oh fudge” and gets punished for it. Discussing his statement, he narrates to viewers that the very curse he used was taught to him by his father. I’m not going to stand on a soapbox and act for a moment that I am the perfect father, but gents’ we need to understand that our actions are the basis for how our children (specifically, our sons) are going to behave.
I know what you may be thinking: this is all well and good, but what does it have to do with respect? Let’s take a step back a moment and focus on our roles as fathers. We are the head of the house, disciplinarians, and our son’s main example for what it means to be a man. This is a lot of responsibility for one man to hold, if we do not respect this immense duty with which we have been charged, our children will grow up without a proper example of what a man’s role is in a marriage and as a father. If we do not respect our wives and our families enough to maintain self-control, we are setting our children up for failure in both the workplace and in their future relationships.
At the end of the day, the lights and the garland went up, I had a warm cup of tea, and I am fully confident that my son is not permanently doomed to a life of disrespect due to my one moment of weakness. As I stated earlier: we are all human, we make mistakes. However, if we lose respect for the responsibilities we maintain as a father, we go down a path to losing positive influence over our children. Thank you for reading my article, if this post has helped you out in any way, I would love to hear your feedback. You can contact me through email on my blog page at: www.tsreflectionsonfatherhood.weebly.com.
One Bible verse I believe is an extremely good reference for all parents is Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he shall not depart from it.”