Healing through Reconciliation Lifestyle
Recently, as I was thinking about past memories with our kids, I was reminded of a fun project my son and I did when he was about 7 years old. We were given a portable basketball hoop that was adjustable in height. The back-board was broken and needed to be replaced. My son was so excited to get his own basketball hoop that we could place right in front of our house on the paved driveway. Instead of buying a new board we were making one out of wood and painted it nicely in white with outside lining and the inner rectangle in black. To get straight lines I was using tape and let my son do most of the painting. We were both very pleased with the end result and had a lot of fun playing together with our own basketball hoop over the next few years. I don’t know who of us was more proud of that project - especially of the professionally painted back-board.
This sounds like any other little hero story most dads can tell about life with their kids. In my case though, there is another dimension to the story I’d like to share. I still remember clearly how I felt when it came to painting the backboard. I was fine letting my son do the painting of the white background because he could not have messed it up. But painting the black lining along the small painting tape was a different story. The following question crossed my mind, “could my son hold the brush and stay within the tape or would he mess up “my” board by leaving “unprofessional” marks on it which I would have to remove?” I was fighting the fear inside and almost talked my son out of painting the lines. It would have taken me less than 5 minutes to do it myself. Instead I let him do it which turned out great. Looking back, I’m shocked about the thought that I almost missed this chance of letting my own son feel encouraged and celebrated. Where did that fear come from that made me feel more concerned about the perfect paint job than my son’s experience? Was it the fear that people would think less of me when they saw “my” not so perfect paint job? That applied to me, but there were other reasons behind this as well.
That discovery revealed how I was relating – and occasionally still am to some degree – to my kids that would make them feel disempowered and discouraged to try things on their own. What a great opportunity to reconcile and restore the standard in our family. I talked to my kids about the paint job back story and other incidents I discovered when I was disempowering or criticising them and asked them for forgiveness. At the same time, I thought about some memories in my own life growing up and let my children see what I had experienced in the past that led me to act as I had.
My children felt understood and could also understand my heart. This process of looking both ways helps to reconcile so much easier and deeper. I’d like to encourage you to view conflict or areas of weakness in your life as an opportunity to pursue personal healing and reconciliation with the other people that brings healing to them as well. It starts with our willingness to look at what is really going on in our heart and getting in touch with the things we experienced in the past that led us to feel and behave in a way that is hurting others around us. As you initiate this process in your family and embrace it as a way of life, you will find great reward. Your heart connection to your loved ones will strengthen - is that not one of the greatest rewards we could ask for?