Teach your kids how to apologize
I got out of the car, and did not go with my family. That's how I responded to a disagreement that Sherri and I were having. I was tired, and feeling quite unappreciated... so I bailed.
Do you know what I mean? Have you done what I did?
As they headed down the road, I sat down in my office to do some reading. I'm currently reading a book called "False Intimacy" by Dr. Harry Schaumburg. He wrote a chapter in this book called, "Preventing Sexual Addiction in Your Children"... but that's for another conversation.
I pulled the bookmark out and resumed reading, and this is what I read:
"...as parents we are always being watched: our children learn by observing us. If we avoid relationships, withdraw, pout, get angry, show kindness, or do special favors in order to obtain what we want, our children may learn to do that too. Likewise, if we express our desires through direct, sincere requests and are willing to face relational pain, our children may be more willing to enter relational uncertainty in which real intimacy can develop."
WOW! Did 'ole Harry just see what I did? Did he write that about me? To me?
(It might not be a bad idea to read that quote again... slowly.)
As I let that settle, I recalled something I read a while ago from James Kouzes and Barry Posner. Kouzes and Posner have done tremendous research regarding what makes a leader and what great leadership consists of.
In their book “The Truth About Leadership” they write,
“For a long time now we’ve been asking people about the leader role models in their own lives. Not well-known historical leaders, but leaders with whom they have had personal experience. We asked them to identify the person they’d select as their most important role model for leadership.” After they asked the question they would give the survey participants eight categories from which these leaders might have come: business leader, community or religious leader, entertainer or Hollywood star, family member, political leader, professional athlete, teacher or coach, or other/none/not sure.
After the results were tallied they discovered that, “Regardless of whether one is under or over thirty years of age, when thinking back over their lives and selecting their most important leader role models, people are more likely to choose a family member than anyone else.” Then write this breathtaking sentence,
“Mom and Dad, it turns out, are the most influential leaders after all.”
Well that was the final straw for me. I asked God to forgive me, and determined to take another approach to the conflict at hand.
My kids are learning how to handle conflict and "do" relationships by watching me. And yours are watching you!
I guess today my kids are going to see how to apologize.