I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life yesterday. My wife jumped into a community pool because someone had knocked my four year-old son into the pool. He can’t swim.
We don’t think it was intentional that Samuel got knocked into the pool but that doesn’t really matter. Nor does it matter that there were adults standing very nearby who didn’t jump in to help him. They didn’t know he couldn’t swim and for all they knew he was swimming because his arms and legs were moving while he struggled to get his head above water. What does matter is this.
Life is very fragile
I pray it doesn’t take a tragedy or near tragedy for you to realize this. Unfortunately that is how we learn most lessons, the hard way. I have known couples who have had stillborn children and others who lost their 18 year old child in horrific accidents. The loss is the same no matter how old the child. It’s devastating. My son is fine other than a few scrapes and a well-founded fear of that pool that we’ll have to work towards healing.
Be the best parent you know
This may sound totally obnoxious but a lot of people tell me I’m a great dad. That’s great to hear because I love affirmation. The truth is I am the greatest dad my kids have ever had. All joking aside I’m the only dad they’ll ever have so I had better be good. They deserve it. Second, I’m not a great dad all the time. I have a real issue with patience. I am very patient in almost all settings except with my family. I save all my impatience for them. It’s not a good thing to save for your family. But when people tell me I’m a great dad I don’t push away the compliment, I say “Thanks. They’re easy to love and they need me to be a great dad. Every kid deserves and needs a great dad.” I’m a great dad is because my dad was a great dad and I’ve known many other men in my life who are also great dads. Don’t be content to know great people, become one. Being a great parent isn’t complicated but it is a lot of work.
Samuel will be fine
My wife just sent me a text to let me know that she and my three kids are off to a different pool to go swimming with their cousins. Samuel will probably be scared of the water a bit but my wife will be there to comfort him and reassure him that she’s nearby. He’ll likely remember the fearful moment of being pushed into a pool for the rest of his life. It was a very, very scary moment. But he’ll have a lot more good memories of parents who surrounded him with love, affection, affirmation and encouragement. Life is hard and as the Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble…” We know life is hard but we also know that if you are looking for difficulty then you can overcome it.
What you can do
Please don’t become a parent who can’t say “No” to their kids. That’s now what I’m advising you to do. But do become a parent that adores their children, affirms their children, celebrates their children, empowers their children and creates a very, very safe environment for them. If you follow me on social media you’ll see pictures of my kids every single day. They are my joy. Make your kids your joy too. They are not an addition to your life. They are as much a part of your life as your left arm is a part of your life. They are you so take care of you. Take care of them. Love big and love often.