Every now and again my children do something that reminds me, as a father, I’m in a position of great authority and that they trust me. It’s often a very simple thing, like stopping in the middle of a task and waiting to be told what to do.
Just the other day my youngest stopped in her tracks and looked at me. She simply wanted her daddy to tell her how she should handle a particular situation. If I hadn’t been there to assist, I think she’d have stood in that same spot for ages, waiting for a grown-up to come on the scene and inform her what should happen next.
Such simple events remind me that that my children look up to me. I am someone they trust and I am a role model to them.
It’s a reminder to me that I have responsibility. I also consider it a very delicate relationship. These little people want guidance, companionship and love. I must strive to provide all these things while remaining an authority figure. It’s not always an easy balance to strike.
Like most parents, I am sometimes guilty of misreading a situation. If tired or pre-occupied, I can fail to give my kids the attention they seek from me. When this happens and I made aware of my failings, maybe by my wife or when I receive a down-hearted look form one of my daughters. This always makes me feel dreadful.
To me, parenting involves many, many sacrifices, but it’s never a burden. The responsibility I have as a father isn’t one I take lightly. When one of my children performs one of these simple gestures, asking what they should do next or gives me one of those looks that says “how do I handle this scenario?”, unsure what they should be doing, well that’s the time to give a smile, get down to their level and offer all the help I can
I’m grateful to my children when they point out I’ve got it wrong. They may not say anything; it may simply be a look or silence. That gesture, however, shows that they expect more.
My kids are resilient and robust. Most kids are, us adults don’t give them nearly enough credit. Even so, the balance of power in the parent / child relationship is delicate and must be respected.
Having your failings pointed out by a three-year-old is an enormously powerful gesture. Personally speaking, I find it keeps me in place.
Pic credit: Purplejavatroll. Reproduced under Creative Commons agreement.