One of the worst fears that had often come across my mind in raising kids, especially teenagers, was the day they would ask my parents, point blank, what kind of son I was growing up. And so, my kids asked my father on a couple of occassions.
Pause . . .
Gulp! "Oh, please. I hope you never found out the times I went rafting in the swollen creek after heavy thunderstorms with no life preserver and one of us nearly drown."
"Oh, yeah. I really hope you don't say ANYTHING about the time got into a car accident when I was 16 years old, especially because I tell my own kids that teenagers are unsafe for the roads."
OH, YEAH! I please, PLEASE don't say anything about the time . . . well . . . I can't talk about THAT episode online. Too embarrassing."
. . . . and so, those were my thoughts. I felt somewhat like crawling into a hole. I knew I hadn't been all that bad. I got decent grades in school, and I wasn't a member of any gang. I was pretty normal, but what would my dad say?
Then, my father said something I'll never forget . . . He said, "I couldn't have asked for better kids (speaking of me and my brothers)."
I waited for him to qualify his statement, like "Well, except for the time that . . . " But it never came. Wow, I came out okay. I'm just so thankful that my parents have selective memories and that they have shown understanding and compassion to an unperfect son. A lesson in forgiveness, compassion, and love.
Too often as parents, we forget that our children have emotional bank accounts, and that everytime we say something negative, we withdraw from that account that can leave people emotionally drained. Showing a little more forgiveness for our youthful (and even current) follies and shortcomings in life can brush away the memories and hurt of past misdeeds and shortcomings and can certainly build better relationships.