In my four years of being a dad I have learned many things. I have learned how to treat the croup without going to the doctor, how to change an explosive diaper in 4.86 seconds, and how to carry two children and a laundry basket at the same time. The journey is always teaching me a lot about being a dad, and also about the kind of person I am. Fatherhood has changed my life in so many ways that I could write on every dad blog out there, and never have enough room. One thing I have learned recently is that there are two small words that no matter how soft or how loud they are spoken, they can bring the universe into harmony. Those two small words: I’m Sorry.
Having two toddlers it has become quite commonplace to have to tell one to apologize to the other. Hitting, pushing, shouting, and so on, they know that when the DLEA (Daddy Law Enforcement Agent) steps in, that they must behave, and apologies must be issued. The only problem with this is that I don’t know if they understand what the words mean that they are saying. In perspective, I sometimes wonder if I fully grasp their meaning as well. But time has shown me that my kids are growing more and more intelligent, and know when these two words need to come from my mouth, and not theirs.
To my children, I am not only “dad” but I am the healer of boo boos, the vanquisher of boogies, and a super hero capable of many amazing feats. It is great to think of myself as some kind of super being. It’ s even more fun to put on a cape and wear my underwear outside and try to fly. Not that I do any of that of course. Despite the many roles my kids may see me in, two roles I never get out of are being human and being fallible. I am not a perfect person and I am subject to making mistakes. Just as I teach them about apologizing for doing something wrong, I must make sure I live these teachings. I must not be afraid to admit wrong doing and to speak those two little words.
No matter how macho I want to be (or pretend to be) or how right I want to be, the fact is I cannot always be right, and thinking I am can cause hurt feelings. As we teach our children the important difference between right and wrong, we need to remember our own lessons. We are leaders of our families, heads of tribes, the big cheeses. Our teachings and wisdom have no value without practice.
It is okay to say those two small words. We will mess up, we will say things in anger, or do things without thinking. It doesn’t make us bad people, just human beings. Our children know this in some way. I think children can realize a lot more than we give them credit for. When we show we are as subject to “I’m Sorry” as they are, then the lesson has value. Two small words that take up 9 characters on a screen can still the hastened heart and the angry soul. Knowing this, I gladly trade in manliness in me for the ability to bring the worlds back to harmony.