There are times when I am not an ideal parent. This has never been more obvious than in recent clashes with Colton. Being 10, he’s starting to toe the line of being a teenager. He has developed a smart mouth and the need to get his two cents in no matter what it costs him. When this collides with my desire to have an obedient son, sparks fly.
So it seems lately we are constantly at odds with each other. He is mad at me for punishing him and I’m annoyed at him for being…well…10.
What he sees as me being harsh is really just me trying to discipline him and prepare him for his future. What I see as his rebellion is really just him trying to test out his boundaries and defend his idea of what is fair.
Neither of us is completely wrong, but then neither of us is innocent either. One of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn is to go to him and apologize when I’m wrong. I know what I struggle with in life and I want him to be prepared in case he has to face the same things. So I guide him, through love and sometimes discipline to keep him on as right a track as I can. Sometimes, though, the punishment is not in line with the crime. Sometimes the severity is based on how much it disrupted my own selfish desires.
In those times, I have to go to him and confess my sinful nature and ask his forgiveness. Those moments of humility are tough. My role is ultimately to lead him, but leadership doesn’t mean always pretending you are right even when you are clearly wrong.
I could very easily deal out whatever punishment I feel like no matter how it effects him. If I do that, though, he will do the same thing to his sons. And then they will do the same to their sons. Somewhere along the way, a Wright son will be born who does not take this sometimes harsh treatment as part of the learning process. He will rebel against it with every fiber of his being and could lead the line of Wrights following him down a dark path that could take generations to recover from. All because I don’t want to address my laziness and sin by humbling myself in view of Colton. So I correct and discipline out of love. And when I don’t do it entirely out of love, I eventually ask forgiveness. Sometimes it takes me a while, but I get there.
This week I challenged him to help me make things better. He will try to be 25% more obedient and I will try to be 25% more patient and forgiving. Between the two of us we should be able to cut out about half our arguments and our relationship should look very different.
Part of the process of both of us doing those is acknowledging that we can’t. Colton cannot just white knuckle his sinful behavior and change it. Only through God transforming his heart will he truly change. Likewise, I cannot just generate more patience and humility. Only through God’s power in me will any of that happen.
So we walk through life together, a sinful dad and a sinful son, knocking the rough edges off each other as God pulls us both closer to him. It’s not always pretty but it is parenting.