It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had as a parent. You’ve heard of a double-take. When it happened to me I did a quadruple-take. I was stunned.
Here’s the part that really floored me. It proved to me that there has to be a sort of relational muscle-memory in us. A part of us is unconsciously programmed to repeat relational patterns of our parents – whether we like it or not. It may seem obvious to you, but have you really considered what this means?
A powerful influence
See – I’ve been purposeful with this whole dad thing since my first child. I’ve made many deliberate choices to demonstrate the type of fathering I never experienced myself. Yet, even being dead set on choosing a different way to parent, I still found my dad waiting in the wings for the right moment to speak through me with such a condescending, derogatory tone… “What the h**l is wrong with you? What are you… stupid?” That vile spirited attitude I came to despise, I had in fact become.
That experience opened my eyes to a couple of things. First, it gave me an opportunity to ask my children for forgiveness. I said I was sorry and it was pretty amazing to see how quickly our connection and hearts could heal. Secondly, the fact that these traits of my dad have stuck around for me to deal with showed me just how powerful my influence truly is on my children.
Be the dad
Choosing to be the dad on purpose is a big deal. It’s positively influencing our kids in ways I hadn’t considered. We’re not just being there for them now. When they least expect it, we’re going to show up then… through their own choices and behaviors as adults.
That’s powerful stuff. That’s how we abide in their lives.
I’m honestly energized by this. Let it sink in…we can intentionally give our kids positive experiences with us that will literally shape who they become in the future.
Watch “I hated my dad.” – it’s such a powerful message.
Take that quality-time.
Say these four things.
And keep making the choice to be the dad… on purpose.