Over the years, I’ve heard stories from a good number of friends who have rough relationships with one or both of their parents, or in some cases – no relationship. Many of them struggle with hurt and resentment.
As our boys continue growing up, faster than I can wrap my head around, I find myself contemplating the preteen and teenage years on the horizon. I wonder what type of relationship I will have with them as they grow into adulthood. What kind of parenting legacy will I leave? Will the all-too-common hurt and resentment I see among grown children towards their parents happen in my relationship with my boys?
I was seeking God in my quiet time and wrestling with this question (and my fear) I asked, “Lord, will my boys resent me someday?” The thought that came to my mind was: it is hard to resent humility.
As I chewed on this thought, it rang true within me. Despite our best efforts, many things can go wrong in relationships. Not everything can be fixed with an apology. At the same time, an authentic acknowledgement of our shortcomings, with no qualifications or justification of our behaviors is the best hope for a restored relationship.
I know I frequently make mistakes in my parenting and am far from a perfect parent. By the time my boys are adults, I will have made more mistakes than I can count. I recognize that the goal of being a perfect parent is unattainable. So instead, I aim to be a parent who messes up well.
What does it mean to mess up well? Most of my mistakes in parenting come when I fall out of relational mode. In these moments my goal is to quickly notice I have fallen out, take steps to get back to relational mode and then humbly apologize to my kiddos when I mess up without justifying myself and my actions or words.
There are no guarantees when it comes to life and relationships and no chance we will handle things perfectly. But when we aim to repair quickly, we have the best chance of preserving (and even strengthening) our relationships.
Check out the recordings of our Encouragement for Maxed out Moms Event where we dive deeper into this topic, as well as look at how to repair when we mess up.0