Same mistake …again.
Words, emotions, actions, all lit by the heat of the moment. Right there. Right in front of us both. Regrets pile high once dust settles and calm returns.
Losing sight of who they can be and how to get there with them easily falls victim to all busy schedules, sticky details and chunky events of life unfolding.
She lied again. Again.
Didn’t she learn from the last time I punished her and raised my voice emphatically? Apparently, what I say does not matter enough to direct her to making the right choices.
What else would be the cause?
She doesn’t respect me anymore.
Standing there looking back at me lying again. In her eyes rest a distance. I’m not getting through to her. Control her every more and response.
“Stand up straight when I am talking to you!” “Don’t you walk away from me!” “Sit still, right there.”
In the immediate, I am blinded. Nothing behind or ahead hold value, only now right there in the heat of the moment. And there I lose touch with her. That is the reason a distance rests in her eyes standing there looking back at me. We stand apart in two different locations, a gap ever widening.
As a single dad and only parent to my three little daughters, I have become much more insecure. With all of my heart, I only want them to grow healthy and robustly from little girls to young ladies secure in who they are and into loving and wise mature women set on a purposeful course in life. The fear of not getting them there tangles and trips me. The fear is now. It is all I see. And that is precisely the problem. I react quickly and out of context losing sight of my ultimate desire. In quick reactionary parenting, I am just being bounced between little details isolated and void of the overall beauty and full potential holding instead of seeing those little details as not isolated but parts of the whole and opportunities to get her there.
A few months ago while racing down a single track path through a wide open prairie on my mountain bike, I severely misjudged a turn. Over the handle bars and through the air I tumbled landing squarely on my head and sliding through the dirt and dry grass on my back. In the adrenaline rush, I popped right back up to my feet. Everything blurry and spinning. My stomach tightened and knees weakened as I reached for the ground both signs of a concussion. After a couple minutes, I climbed back on my bike, cracked helmet and bleeding, for three more miles to finish the course. The wreck and the injuries incurred were my doing. One of the most dangerous things to do while mountain biking is to look down right over your handle bars. In doing so, you miss what is right ahead. The path is only right there, but there is so much ahead. And you need to see the whole path ahead to anticipate response. Turns, logs laying in path, roots, creeks, switch backs, hills and more all ahead on the course.
The danger of looking only right at the moment is to get lost in the immediacy of details unfolding and forget all ahead. Life holds only immediate value. Preoccupied and controlled by the moment only, you are left to only reacting. Life is about much more than flinching, wincing and reacting. So is parenting.
When I stare into the moment and lose sight of who she can be and will be, all ahead fades into the distant forever. Both of us sink into a moment rushing, emotions running high and now bleeds like forever. In this way exactly, parenting shares a parallel with mountain biking. Life intersecting life. Truth pedaling and parenting. In both, eyes must lift out of moments heated and sticky and stay fixed ahead.
I am learning to securely parent my three little daughters in looking down the trail, anticipating response and proactively participating rather than waiting to react in moments and details.