october 13-086We’re doing our weekly Sunday night tradition of going around the table and saying something we’re thankful for.  We started this in September and great conversations have come about this. It’s hard to complain and say what you’re grateful for at the same time.

{If you want to create a generation that isn’t entitled, practice gratitude}

It’s my turn and the eyes are on me.  My daughters are watching me close as I share about the walk I had with an estranged family member.  We had a fall out earlier this year and they’ve been monitoring it.  They saw the hurt and anger I was holding on to.  It was crippling me and leaking on to them.

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The teens have been paying attention to how adults handle conflict.  

The teens have been noticing what happens when grown ups fight.       Ouch.

The teens are witnessing the power of forgiveness and grace.

Although we do this great thing at the table with gratitude, I’m still a work in progress in many other areas of my life.  Me, fighting with another adult? Yes.  That’s me.  Clearly it’s not exactly fighting with fists, but holding on tight to hurt and anger by not answering calls and avoiding ‘someones’ at functions.   Fumbling around with experiences and interpersonal relationships.  

And this issue I’m talking about, it was pervasive.  It had spread like spilled milk all over the counter, floor and walls.  It splattered where I didn’t even expect.  Like on to the example I was setting with my kids.  I might have been in the right but I wasn’t handling it right.  And the only reason why they were watching it was because it involved a close family member.  

If it was a co-worker or acquaintance I could have hid it forever.

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And surely God has made something beautiful out of something ugly.  A fresh start with love and kindness.  More filters to be used on our words.  Living through empathy not personal perspective.  The walk and talk became mercy alive.  For both of us. However, let me tell you, I FELT very uncomfortable, think: shaky, sick, and winded.

It’s far from perfect but perhaps its the process we are all in.

The cracks in our jars of life are shining out the grace abundant for us all.

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And one thing I know for SURE, is that if you apologize to your children and really mean it, they are the MOST forgiving.  They’ll forgive you all.  Even more than that, when you mess up big, and then do something really difficult to fix it, they stand at the side cheering for you. Silently absorbing all you’re doing.

And this perhaps is what I want you to really know;  they don’t expect perfect parents, just AUTHENTIC ones.

This post is part of my 31 days of Teenagers.  Feel free to follow along by email or in a reader.