Like many men before me, I have made my share—alright my share, his share, her share, their share—of stupid mistakes. To be honest, that trend doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.
My 20s were full of “if only” and “I should have” and far too many of the dreaded “I am sorry” (mostly in my late 20s). My childhood wasn’t perfect; in fact, most days it was borderline on the mandatory therapy script, however, once I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child, I experienced a new and overwhelming emotion for the first time: true and absolute FEAR.
Now, let us remember that fear and anxiety are two different things. Many folks tend to associate them as being one and the same, but they are very different. Let me explain in terms that most of us guys can understand. When we get the nerve to ask a young lady out for the first time, we are anxious. That feeling of whether we will be rejected, whether or not she will give us a shot, if the idiotic pick-up line we rehearsed 244 times in the shower while practicing our “jive talk” and Barney Stinson smile will work . . . these are anxious thoughts.
Fear—true blue, bone aching, paradigm-shifting, earth-shattering FEAR—is what you feel when that line turns blue and you are left with the question to end all questions.
What if they turn out like me?
Similar to what many near-death survivors claim to experience, our lives flash before our eyes with a highlight real of every moment leading up to that point, every moment of shame, that is. The moments we don’t talk about. The experiences we happily claim we blacked out and couldn’t remember. I am talking about the backroom closet memories that a certain politician, who didn’t kill himself, would try to hide from the Clintons bad. WHAT IF THEY TURN OUT LIKE ME?
The nightmare had begun. I tortured myself with this thought daily, and to be completely upfront with you guys, I still do. Luckily, I found out that it is going to be OK. There is an answer to that question, and I finally found it and will pass it on to you guys to take away what you will from it.
This awesome dude, who I believe crafted the universe and made me in His own image, wrote down a little piece of advice to answer this question for us. He left it in the book of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 6, where He says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Easy enough right? NO. Absolutely not.
What is the right way? When does it start? What age is he a toddler and not an infant? Is that the same as children? Is there only one way?
Guys, I get it. There is no easy answer. However, what I did get from this scripture is that there is hope. Hope in the fact that my maker took time out of His own story to write something down because He knew an ignorant sinner like me would ask the dumb questions. The awesome thing is, He WANTED to answer them for me! How rad is that?
Sometimes I wish the answers were a little clearer, but in this case, it seems pretty simple. Teach them to be good men and women, and they will be. We have screwed up enough to learn what not to do. So teach your kids. Parent your kids. Be a role model, yes, be a DAD.
As men, we are called to be role models. We are called to show our kids how to walk day in and day out through this life, which includes failure.
It is OK that your kids see you fail. Teach them how to fail. Show them how to get up when they fall and keep going. Start them on the right way they should go, and the book says even when they are old, they will not turn from it. God Bless, guys!