I was bouncing around with quotes this afternoon looking for one that could encompass my feelings on being a father and being a son. I found the perfect one about 2 minutes into scrolling. The best usually rise to the top of lists.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. - Frederick Douglass
Every day is a new opportunity for me to set a more robust course for my boys. Last night, as we were winding down, both of them pushed a boundary that I had set around intruding on our adult time. Let's be honest. It's Henry; his little brother follows suit.
When they broke the boundary, and I got them back upstairs, and into bed, I was angry. I feel blessed that I was aware that I was merely projecting anger at them, and it was around my expectations. I still used a stern voice and spoke authoritatively as I tucked them in. And then, magically, I melted. I had this realization that if I wanted them to show up better than I was demonstrating at the moment, I had to shift to model it. They aren't going to listen to my instructions necessarily. They will mirror what I model.
I was following a pattern. I was echoing the ice-cold nature that I saw growing up. My father made things very black and white. We either listened to his authority, or we suffered. The irony for me is that I'm suffering more now than I did as a child. I learned to show up in a subservient and unobtrusive way. I knew I had to please to gain approval, and more so, avoid the wrath. We are all broken in our own unique and diverse ways. I'm not judging myself or my dad for how I show up now. I'm a fully functioning, aware adult. I can own who I am and how I show up. More so now than even a few years ago. It's just taken some time to unpack and find grace as I grow.
For this Father's Day (as I cry typing these last lines out), I am grateful for the gifts that keep revealing themselves. If my dad weren't my dad, I wouldn't show up the way I want for my boys!
Happy Father's Day. ❤️