My Parenting Failures
By Cecil Murphey
On Christmas Eve, 1990, I learned
an invaluable lesson about parenting. Two years earlier, we had moved away
from our grown children. During that time away from them, I not only missed
them, but I often thought of things I had done or not done during their growing-up
years. Mostly, I thought of the ways I had failed them.
I hadn't always been physically available; I was busy making a living and
staying on the go. There were times when I could have hugged my three kids
more, listened more attentively, or just hung out with them.
I thought about that because I had been struggling over that very issue with
my own dad. He was the typically distant father, and he was also an alcoholic.
I had unconsciously
stored up a lot of anger toward him. A decade after he died, I faced the pain,
but it still took me a long time to forgive him.
After I resolved my own father issues, I thought about my three children.
After I died, would they have to struggle over forgiving me? I decided I wanted
them to be able to talk to me and forgive me while I was still alive.
For several days I had prayed for guidance. It wasn't going to be easy to
say to my grown children, "Forgive me for failing you." I wanted
to be prepared to open my heart and hear their accusations.
On Christmas Eve before we opened our presents, I cleared my throat and said,
"I've failed you in many ways." I told them of my struggle to forgive
my dad. "I don't want you to have to go through that. Whatever I've done
and I know I've failed many ways
please forgive me."
As I spoke, I particularly thought of Cecile, our middle child. She, like
me, had been the rebel of the family. I had wept and prayed for her more than
any of the others. When I finished, I closed my eyes and waited for their
outbursts of pain and despair.
"I remember that no matter what I did," Cecile said after a long
silence, "you always loved me." Tears streamed down her cheeks.
The other two said they knew I loved them; they had nothing to forgive.
I learned an invaluable lesson that night. I had focused on my failures and
all the things I did wrong; my children focused on my love for them and what
I did right. My children knew I loved them and that knowledge enabled them
to forgive any of my mistakes when they happened, rather than letting them
build up over the years.
What was the lesson I learned? I did my best parenting by the way I lived
and not by the mistakes I had made.
Order your copy
of Cecil Murphey's, The God Who Pursues
by Cecil Murphey on Shop CBN
Murphey has authored and co-authored more than 90 books in such wide-ranging
fields as health and fitness, motivation, travel, business, and inspiration.
Some of those books have included ghostwritten autobiographies for singer
B.J. Thomas, Franklin Graham, pianist Dino Karsanakas, Chick-fil-A founder
S. Truett Cathy, ultra-marathon runner Stan Cottrell, and Dr. Ben Carson of
Johns Hopkins Hospital. You can learn more about him at www.cecilmurphey.com
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