When receiving grace there is one main piece of wisdom I hold to. I don’t know who first gave me this wisdom, but it has been one of the best pieces of advice I have received on fatherhood.
Learn to apologize well.
I apologize to my son often. I look him in the eye after getting down on his level and I tell him, “I am sorry.” Here is what that does for my titan of a two-year-old.
- He feels like a real person. My son feels heard, justified, and responded too.
- He understands that making mistakes is ok. We are allowed to make mistakes, but when we do we apologize. We recognize that we have wronged another person and we should seek forgiveness and restitution.
- Dad isn’t perfect. If Dad isn’t perfect, no one is. When no one is perfect, it is a lot easier to give grace and share and do many of the things we parents try to teach our children about how to be good humans.
- Dad cares about my feelings. This might be an add-on to number 1, but feelings are hard for me. I want my son to feel safe to share his feelings good or bad. When I apologize, it shows how much I care for all of his feelings. When I apologize, he is often having, justifiably, negative feelings. Now, he feels safe to have those feelings around me. I am not “the unassailable because I said so machine,” but a usually rational person just like him.
I have learned that receiving grace from my son is almost more important than actually giving him grace. It builds our relationship in unique ways. He understands that I have to make rules and boundaries for him. It allows him to bring the fun!
What about you? Do you ever apologize to your kids? I am glad I started early because I don’t know if it is a skill I could learn late. Check up on my latest in the grace series here.
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