Only recently did I have my low of lows in fathering.....it is both humorous and heart-wrenching and ends with a valuable lesson for the younger dads out there.
Occasionally I get into the "let's move" mode and start to ask the kids where they would like to move to. This discussion started around the supper table a few months ago. My son didn't want to entertain the idea of moving (although now he thinks Bourbon, IN would be a swell spot). My daughter's interest, however, was piqued. And soon she began contemplating moving out by some friends of ours in the country. Further into the conversation I told her maybe we would just move into their basement. That seemed to suit my 5 year old just fine. Then I said, well, I don't want to live in their basement, but if you want to move in with them, that's fine with me.
The next day at lunch I encouraged her to ask this friend (he's our family doctor & she had an appointment after lunch) if it would be ok with him if she moved in. The doctor played along with the joke and told her, sure, you can move in.
That night at supper she reported that our friend said she could move in, so, I said, "well, I guess you better pack your bags after supper".
She disappeared upstairs. Mom went to find her and she had pulled all of her belongings out of her drawers and was packing. She told me I needed to deal with it.
I went upstairs. My daughter was hiding behind her door when I found her. I said, honey, you can't move in with our friends! Dad was just teasing...........I'd miss you, don't you want to live here?
She bursted into tears. She cried for a half hour while I held her in my arms.....then mom took over.
The worst part was when my 7 year old son came into her room, upset over his sister's tears, and told me......."Dad, sometimes your teases turn into lies".
I didn't get a manual when my first kid was born. To this day, I don't know what the heck I'm doing raising two kids and fret that I will scar them for life. Kids are a great gift from God, and since I can especially see myself in my son, I want to encourage him and my daughter to live to their full potential. I don't ever want my words to break their confidence, or their trust in me.
And I'm learning that in enjoying my heavenly Father's love for me.........I am better equipped to extend the same love to my kids. That's what I'm teaching about on Sunday. We'll see how that goes.