My son was in high school, and one fateful day my wife shared with me, “Joel hates you.” My stunned reaction was he doesn’t hate me. He knows that I love him, and I only want the best for him. I needed a dose of humility as a Father. My wife repeated the statement in another way so I could absorb her comment; well he can’t stand being around you most of the time.
You hound him about his school assignments, and you are always correcting him about how he handles every detail of life. He feels like he can’t please you no matter what he does to try and make you happy.
The truth hurt I didn’t want my son to grow up and be like me. I didn’t want him to deal with the same failures and weaknesses I had in my life. I unwittingly tried to correct the character traits I struggled with in my life by trying to motivate him to do things differently in his. However, my overbearing attitude produced the opposite effect a deep seeded resentment for me.
So, at this point in the conversation with my wife, the counselor in me swallowed my pride and admitted she was right. The communication problem was my assumption that his feelings didn’t matter, and my feelings were the right ones he should have for me. He should love me I’m his father.
Here is the lesson there are times in life it has nothing to do with what I think as a father it only matters what my son thinks and feels about me. The next day I took Joel to lunch, and as we sat at the table, I expressed my heart was breaking with how I had hurt him. I told him I was negligent for being so critical of him and would he forgive me for the things I had done. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I shared how proud I was of him as a young man and how much I loved him. I shared with him from this day forward I would do my best to honor and respect him.
It was a God moment, grace came down and my son granted mercy to me. Years later I would officiate his wedding, but far more humbling was his request for me to be his best man at his side. I’m glad I swallowed my pride those many years ago and listened to my wife and sons’ heart. As a father, I need a daily dose of humility.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:21 NIV
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