I have the greatest kids. I really do, and if you know my family you can bear witness to this fact.
My kids aren’t perfect—they have their allotment of problems and issues, but by and large my kids are great.
I wish I could say I was a super-parent, you know one of those dads, who takes every moment and makes it a life-changing lesson. Or intentionally spent a ton of time with them.
I’m afraid this isn’t necessarily the case. There have been times, more frequent than I care to admit, where I said something to my kids only to go back and contradict myself or tell them I was completely wrong with the advice I gave them. My kids know I can be long-winded, that I can speak harshly to them sometimes, and have been known to raise my voice.
I wasn’t the best time manager with my kids either. I more often chose to work on my career than I did tossing the ball or having tea parties with them. In fact, I have probably told my kids “I wish I would have done this” more than I have said, “insert something wise and clever here…”
Here’s the thing.
I have tried to demonstrate an authentic life to my kids. My kids know my story, they know my stumbles, my sure-steps, my victories, and my defeats. They know I’m still be made new in Christ Jesus. My kids know what I don’t want to be and what I do want to become.
Authenticity is tricky, especially when it comes to being authentic with your children. You don’t want to reveal too much—an inappropriate amount and at inappropriate times or life-stages. And maybe there are somethings your children should never know about you. I get that.
You can run the risk of your kids looking at you with a negative lens. And some will say it can cause some type of emotional damage… blah, blah, blah… I know I get the dangers of being authentic with your kids.
Here is what I am not saying…
I am not saying that speaking truth and wisdom or spending tons of time with your kids is wrong. I think it is very important to do these things.
Parents need to do these things. Wisdom and time—they are high on the priority list when it comes to parenting. But never neglect authenticity.
False Identity and False Idols
But you know what! It’s more dangerous for your kids to see you for who you really are after you put up a false front, and believe me at some point in their lives they will, than it is for you to intentionally allow them to see some of the ugliness of your life and see how you seek to become a better person.
Some parents play it too safe and create a false identity, which in turn gives their kids an unrealistic target to aim for—it can create false idols for them to want to become like. And when they don’t, they might not have the tools to deal with failure.
I hope my kids seek to be authentic verses being perfect or someone they are not. I want to show them what it means to be on an adventure—on a journey through this thing called life.