I know those of you with multiple kids will find this surprising, but last night Kid #1 and #3 were constantly fighting, and crying, and whining, and fighting, and whining…well, you get the picture. (Those of you without kids, or with only one will just have to trust me on this when I say they were driving me bonkers with all of it). Kid #3 is our violent one who won’t hesitate not one second to reach up and hit his older brother (#1) in the face, or his back, or anywhere else in striking distance should he feel the need arise. I was working on cooking dinner while Brandi was trying to get the baby (AKA Kid #4) asleep so she could help with dinner preparations. I was having to stop and spank (yeah- we do that) Kid #3 every couple of minutes because he was hitting his brother for something or another.
It was after one of these times spanking him that Brandi said, “That was too hard.” Of course, my immediate response was to say that of course it wasn’t too hard, he needed it to be harder to help him remember next time! As I returned to cooking dinner I realized that it was in fact too hard, and it needed to be addressed (DFACS Disclaimer: Just because I admit to it being too “hard” doesn’t mean it rises to the level of abuse, it only left a little red mark, but it was too hard for the situation). I sat down with Kid #3 and told him that Daddy was wrong, that Daddy spanked him too hard and that I was sorry for that and that I loved him very much.
In thinking about the situation more I posted to Facebook/Twitter that:
“I think ONE of the hardest things to do as a parent is to apologize to your child. I also think it’s one of the most important.”
Wow, is it ever hard for me to apologize when I’m wrong. I’m working on doing a better job at it, and I want to have a reputation of being quick to apologize when I’m wrong, no matter how slight the transgression. In fact I had to apologize to a coworker this past week for a situation where I didn’t respond properly, but that’s a post for another day. I think it’s even harder when it comes to my boys, because as “Daddy” I am the ultimate authority in the house (at least in their eyes). However, I don’t want them to grow up thinking that Daddy is perfect and does no wrong. I don’t want them to think that I am not willing/able to apologize to them just because I’m the adult and they are the kids. In fact, I think it’s even more important to apologize because I am the adult. I want them to realize that I’m not perfect and that I mess up all the time and be man enough to admit it to them and seek out their forgiveness!
I would go as far to say that in apologizing to our kids (as well as others) when we’re wrong displays the Gospel in our lives. When we’re quick to point out our own failings and to apologize for them we’re also pointing to a standard of perfection that we cannot reach. We’re pointing to Christ as the perfect one, and we’re showing our kids that we’re not perfect, but we want to be more like Christ, and to emulate the perfect one in every way possible. It is more important for our kids to view the Gospel lived out in our lives in a right manner instead of thinking that their parents are perfect. In fact, our kids will probably have a better attitude towards us if we’re quick to admit we fail often.
It’s a struggle to apologize to others, especially those under us in terms of authority, but it’s vitally important to have a humble attitude and to be willing to apologize when we do wrong against someone.
How about you- do you struggle with apologizing?
Do you make it a habit to apologize to your kids? Why or why not?
Living for His Glory,