I used to be afraid of my father. I never feared being hurt in any way, I was more afraid of his mood. We’d get yelled at, sometimes spanked, and he had this way of instilling so much fear in us for doing something wrong that we’d be afraid of even breathing wrong the rest of the day. I hate to think that’s how my mom felt as his wife but it’s not too far of a stretch. He was strict and distrustful and I’m not sure he was cut out to be a family man. He’s a little softer now, but he still alienates his children with his distant demeanor. We all have things about our childhood we wish were different. I wish I hadn’t been afraid of acting like a kid around my father.
Sometimes we have to make a conscious and intentional effort to not be like our parents. Thankfully, I don’t find it a challenge. I encourage Drew to splash water in the bathtub, to climb things within reason, to explore, to blow bubbles in the house, to dance and to be silly. I don’t ever want my son to be afraid of spilling a glass of milk, or knocking over a frame, or of me not loving him for any reason. It’s always been important to me that my own family embrace faith, fun, love, security, and numerous other traits that create an environment in which we all live purposefully. That’s why I was so excited to come across this blog entry on creating a family manifesto. I love the idea and I’m already working on my list, collaborating with Jon about what we want to envision and encourage in our family. When I get excited about a project, I usually want to finish it immediately but I think this is one that shouldn’t be rushed. Besides, I have to keep reminding Jon that all of his suggestions cannot be 4-5 words long. It’s a poster, not a thesis. Brevity. Maybe we should include that one.