It might be the first step of being a godly dad. You'll have to admit that you aren't perfect. To others, of course. But also, to yourself! That's where things gets tricky. : )
In order to "resist despair" we need to acknowledge when we've blown it. This post will help you with that.
Question: Do you feel like a failure? Is it because you’re comparing yourself to some unrealistic expectation? Is the enemy in your head, trying to get you to focus on your flaws?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” —Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
Kent Evans discusses what to do with you've blown it. (Video 4:44)
The above video is from The Connected Father digital course—full of videos, podcasts, eBooks, tip sheets and bonus resources to help you be the dad who leads with no regrets.
Snag the full course at The Connected Father.
What to do when you've blown it: the home-run apology.
Maybe regret over your past isn’t your problem. However, if you’re anything like many other dads I’ve talked with, you need some encouragement: stop wallowing in past failures!
I’ve heard from dozens of guys who feel like a complete failure as a dad – I’ve been there! But, we can’t let our mistakes define our future.
One key tool for you to resist this feeling of failure is to learn the art of the apology. This is one of the best tools I know of for removing the feeling of failure from our fathering. I call it the “Home Run” apology.
The sincere, frequent, and honest apology is a failure antidote.
There are four steps to this apology, just like four bases on a baseball field, and we don’t score until we make it all the way home—the last step is crucial.
When you realize you’ve sinned against your child, apologize quickly – as soon as you can after the blunder.
Be blunt and honest – don’t minimize the offense. If you yelled at them at the top of your lungs, don’t say, “Sorry I became so animated.” Get real.
Ask them to consider forgiving you (don’t demand it right away) – I usually say, “I hope you’ll forgive me.”
Bringing it Home
The most important piece! Separate your sin from theirs.
They may try to make it easy on you. Kids are forgiving especially when they’re young, and they might let you off the hook by saying, “Sure, dad, I’ll forgive you. But you were right, I was outta line…”
That’s when you say, “Yes, son, you were out of line – but, your mistake didn’t cause mine. I sinned because I chose to. Not because of anything you did.” You must divorce their sin from yours – for several reasons – not the least of which: it’s true!
If they don’t bring it up, you should. “By the way son, you know I was wrong and that my sin isn’t not connected to yours, right? You were out of line, but so was I. I wasn’t out of line “because” you were. I was outta line because I blew it, plain and simple.”
Think about it. When your son Jimmy hits his brother Billy, and you question him – if he says, “He hit me first!” What do you say? Do you say, “Oh, OK. In that case, it’s perfectly fine that you clocked him.”
No! You tell him that Jimmy’s bad behavior didn’t force him to react. It’s no different when we’re adults. In fact, I’d argue that even more so, our children’s behavior shouldn’t drive us to sinfulness. After all, we are the adult in the equation.
You might wonder, “How in the world is apologizing going to help me feel like less of a failure?! Won’t it just make me feel worse?” No, it won’t!
One of the big reasons we feel like failures is not because of today’s mistakes, or even yesterday’s. It’s because of the mistakes we’ve made yesterday, the day before, last year, back when they were kids… We’re carrying around the burden of our past sins like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress.
The sincere, frequent, and honest apology is a failure antidote. It’s like a release valve that when operated correctly, helps reduce the pressure in our homes.
You and I can only afford to deal with one day’s worth of mistakes at a time! Let’s use the Home Run apology to score wins for our family in this area.
If you want to be a Connected Dad, learn how to FIGHT DESPAIR by apologizing for mistakes so you don’t pack them around forever.
Ask yourself: Do you feel like a failure? Is it because you’re comparing yourself to some unrealistic expectation? Is the enemy in your head, trying to get you to focus on your flaws? Tell us in the comments below, tweet @manhoodjourney or email.
About the author: Kent Evans