Monday, September 6, 2010
When you are very young you look up to your dad. Literally, he is much taller and bigger, like a giant. Sometimes that giant is friendly and sometimes more removed. The lucky ones have one that is not an angry giant most of the time. The not so lucky ones learn skills in coping with the anger from someone who is physically huge in comparison.
I have wanted most in my life to be the friendly giant in my children's lives. There have, admittedly, been moments when that has not happened. I have worked hard at helping my children to know safety in my presence so that they always will know that in tough times they can turn to me.
I have been that little kid looking up at the giant and being unsure as to whether or not it was safe to proceed. I have not ever wanted my kids to feel that way. I have also been the giant looking down at those wee little people with the big, trusting eyes and experiencing the melting of my heart in a way that can never truly be adequately described. I have always been aware that, one day in the distant future, these are the people who will, hopefully, care for me in my old age. I truly hope that they will care, otherwise I will not have done a very good job of being a dad.
When we can allow our relationships with our children flow and develop as they need the relationship to develop, we become the adaptable parent. We can let go of our strict roles and allow ourselves to simply be present to them and for them. That way the love is always there and the respect grows with that love. Then, hopefully, when the time comes that they really need our help, they will naturally turn to us.