Respect Your Juniors

Yesterday I had words with my 15 year old son. I won’t go into the gory details but it all boiled down to a lack of respect on his part towards me. Or so I perceived. He then proceeded to give his reasons for said attitude. Which, I have to admit, took me aback and caused me to walk away without saying another word.

We tiptoed around each other for a few hours after that and eventually drew an unspoken line in the sand regarding the incident. Men don’t apologise to each other; rather they watch sports together. So tonight we will be settling down together to watch our team, Manchester United play Real Madrid in the European Super Cup Final. 

My son gave as good as he got in our verbal exchange. He has his mother’s talent for getting the last word. He is also now taller than me so at one point I was aware that I must have looked vaguely ridiculous looking up to him as I berated him. Coming out with cringe worthy ‘Dad speak’ that I had sworn I would never utter to my own kids. We are all walking, talking cliches and will inherit at least some of our own parents traits, no matter how hard we try not to.


I thought about our exchange long and hard though. And, while I still believed my son should not have spoken to me in the manner that he did, I had to reluctantly concede that he had a point. As his father I demanded his respect. But respect has to be earned, and in my case re-earned. I have hurt my son’s feelings in the past and it has taken time for him to heal. He has forgiven me for the hurt but he hasn’t forgotten and, in the heat of our argument, it had raised its ugly head again.

While it hurt me at the time, his perceived lack of respect towards me acted as a timely reminder. I can never rest on my laurels. Billions of men have become fathers down through the ages but what percentage of them continued to be loving, supportive, wise ‘Dads’?

It is probably the toughest and most important responsibility us men can take on during our time on this planet. It is a tremendous honour and a blessing, not something that we should take for granted. As one indiscretion, one bad decision, one harsh word and the father-child relationship can be damaged, sometimes irrevocably.

This was brought home to me this morning when a delivery man called to our door to deliver some goods Fionnuala had ordered on line. As he was leaving I thanked him and asked what time he was working to today. ‘About 6:30pm’ he replied. ‘And then I start my second job at 9pm in a bar. I worked nineteen hours yesterday.’ 

Wow I thought. ‘You mustn’t need much sleep’ I replied. He looked down and smiled ruefully before speaking again. ‘I have spent £8000 in legal fees so far trying to win access to my six year old son.’ He needed the money desperately. And with that he was off leaving me standing at the front door of my home feeling five inches tall. And up in his room my son buzzed about excitedly at the prospect of watching his favourite football team with his Dad later in the day.

I believe that delivery man was sent to my front door for a specific reason. And the conversation we had was no coincidence. As I sit down to watch the match later I will thank God again that I have such an amazing son. And two amazing daughters. And realise that I have to earn and retain their respect as much as they do mine. 

I am a work in progress. As a man; as a father, husband, son and brother. I will always be a work in progress. And I will never be the finished article. All I can do is be the best I can and set the best example I can. Make the right decisions, choose the right paths and stick to them. Shine a light for my son and daughters so that they will never repeat the mistakes that I have made.

Because the sins of the father never need be repeated if the fathers of today stand firm.

Proverbs 23:24 – ‘The father of a righteous man has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.’

When was the last time you argued with one of your kids and then realised they had a point?

What shared activities do you enjoy doing with them?

Who is going to win tonight? Manchester United or Real Madrid? 

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19 thoughts on “Respect Your Juniors

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  1. Reading through more of your posts!😆 You and your wife have VERY leveled mindsets as parents. You realize that, while you have the ultimate say in how the house is run and what goes on, sometimes, you can make mistakes, too. But, you both LEARN and GROW from them. And I know that, as your children grow, they’ll very much appreciate that mindset, and they’ll develop the same one. I love that you were able to take a step back and realize that your son makes good points, too. That shows mutual respect, and that’s SUPER important.👌🏾

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  2. I love this! I wish all parents had the wisdom that you do. It takes a lot of humility to listen to the other side, and I think parents respecting kids will also result in kids respecting parents. That occurrence with the delivery man was very interesting too…Keep shining! 🙂

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  3. Everyone is a work in progress. So long as you know you want to be there for your children, wife, and family in general, that’s more than enough for them, I’m sure. Everyone makes mistakes and I think it’s good to make them, because what else will you learn in life? 🙂

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  4. This is great. I always wished my parents would have said sorry. Sometimes even after they know they also played a part in being wrong, they keep quiet. And I have unwillingly kept those hurts inside me for 20 over years. Oh how much weight would be lifted off my heart if only they could have sat down and we could apologise to each other for words/behaviour said and done. The deep hurts have caused me to be so messed up. Things are better now as I’m older but I do not trust them and don’t tell them things. I imagine they would be hurt if they knew I felt this way about them. I hope reconciliation will also come in the form of ‘sorry’ between you and your son. What an amazing reflective heart of a father you have. 🙂 God Bless! Peace and love to your family. xo

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  5. Stephen, every time I finish reading one of your posts I am always smiling. You have a rare gift to write amazingly. Your son is a very lovely looking boy. I am 26 and still wind my parents up. Who ever said you will be tied down for the next “18 years” is lying! All the best to you and your family. God Bless. Amy Belle

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  6. It’s nice to see a father admit he isn’t always right. A lot of men struggle with that. I think sons especially need those kind of dads who are willing to admit the truth. We certainly need more dads like you.

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  7. I fail every day in one shape or form with my children, but thank God we get a new day every day. My children have been extremely disrespectful to me lately and I have probably earned it because I’m not present I sleep a lot and I’m in my head a lot, and it hurts to know that I’ve probably earned it but I still resent that they do it. I’m a sinner, they are sinners and we just have to do the best we can.

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