"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week 16: Do Not Exasperate Your Children, Part 2

Last week's command was Ephesians 6:4, which says: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." As a dad, I've done some things well, and it shows. I have two very good little boys. They're confident, affectionate, strong-willed, usually polite and fun-loving.

Both of my sons, however, have trouble with anger, and I have little doubt that I'm to blame for that, at least partially. To be honest, I say things to my boys that I would never say to anyone else. As a parent, you have almost absolute power over your kids, and I've abused that power. Almost daily, through harsh words, I express anger and irritation at my boys---usually over little things like a mess at the breakfast table or toys left out in the living room. I've been guilty of discouraging, exasperating and provoking the boys to anger.

I wish that I could report that the anger problem was solved this week, but that wouldn't be honest. The truth is I had successes and failures. Things were better, and I hope that I'm headed in the right direction. I'm praying for patience and gentleness. I'm praying for God to uproot anger from my heart. I'm committed to being more generous with praise and encouragement. I'm trying to overcome my tendency to focus on the things my boys do wrong. I'm committed to focusing on their strengths, instead of their weaknesses.

Friends, being a dad is plain, pure, hard work! It's also a huge responsibility in a life full of responsibilities. Sometimes I long for a more carefree life---a life with fewer attachments and obligations. I'm not sure, but I bet most dads feel like that sometimes. On the other hand, I wouldn't trade my boys for the world.

Logan and Ethan, if you read this someday, I love you. I'm proud of you, and I'm proud to be your father. I know that I'm making mistakes. I don't have all the answers, although I pretend that I do sometimes. I sometimes worry that I'm failing you. I'm praying for wisdom. Thank God that you belong to Him and that I am merely your caretaker for awhile. I'm praying for your futures, for the lives you will lead, and for the men you will become. God bless you.