Dad, think back to all those times your children tested your patience and restraint. Many “calamities” are humorous memories today. Others are life changing and remain indelible in our minds. As parents, we have run the gamut of hurtful comments, insults and even tragedies.
No book of instructions
How many times have you caught yourself saying, “You just wait until you have kids of your own?” As parents we are yanked every which way. There is no guidebook that refers us to a page for drag racing or experimenting with pot or going too far in a parked car. We rely on instinct or perhaps personal experience. We lie awake at night wondering if we said or did the right thing. We second-guess ourselves. Our head is filled with anger, regret and guilt. If only my son or daughter could feel what I’m feeling right now.
You laid the foundation
We parents made it through those turbulent years. We bear the scars of past wars. We wish we could do some things over again. We wonder if we’re responsible for our child’s short fuse, self-centeredness or complacency. But most of us pulled through to become mature, sensible adults. As your children stand at the threshold of independence, rest assured that, in most cases, they will survive and perhaps thrive because of the foundation you created for them.
A little luck and a lot of angels
Take it from two dads who have been through it. As your children enter adulthood, they will surprise you with their wisdom and resilience. They will amaze you with their determination. They will make you proud to the point of tears by their accomplishments. You will be so taken with what they are doing and where they are going that you will ask yourself more than once, “Is that really my kid?”
Think back to that green bean flying through the air at dinner. Sure, it drove you to near madness. It also was an early indication of bucking the system, of rebelling against authority. That isn’t all bad. Return to that call from the police many years ago informing you that your son wrapped his car around a tree in an attempt to race somebody else acting like an idiot. Some day your adult son may be blessed to have a son of his own to whom he can preach an experiential sermon of foolhardiness and poor judgment.
What goes around comes around. And more times than not, it comes back around in the form of angels and many, many answered prayers.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.