When you’re a parent, it’s not uncommon for people who meet your kids and spend time with you to comment on them, in some way.
Those comments vary as much as the people who are delivering them. We often laugh at how someone might be trying to pass a comment they think may be offensive.
Them: “Wow, your daughter is very… umm… vocal, isn’t she?”
Us: “Yeah, she’s loud. We know. That’s the way she’s always been.”
Now, for some parents, they love to hear certain things. e.g. ‘You’re son is very smart, isn’t he?’, ‘You’re kids are very well behaved.’ ‘I love seeing them worship in church.’ ‘Your kids are so sporty.’ All parents are different, maybe you’ve had one of those weeks and a comment like ‘Your kids.. ahh.. smell nice!’, is an accomplishment.
For Nat and I, the compliment that’ll make us high-five one another (later on) is “You’re kids are so different, and seem comfortable in their skin.”
We both work in healing and formational roles. That’s our thing. We love to see people grow and healed – and not so they can conform to a cookie cutter, perfect, no-problem-version of whatever religion and culture want to deem as acceptable. No, the fist-pumps are pumping when we see others become their unique and wonderful, free, acceptable, paradoxical selves. Which, by the way, can be bloody hard work re-discovering in adulthood. Not because your true-self is missing, but because it’s buried under a crapload of expectation, mixed-messages, trauma and shame from our upbringing.
Labels like you’re a good boy/girl, bad boy/girl, amazing, useless, worthless, priceless, Christian, skinny, fat, big, small, weird, dumb, smart, nerd, etc all leak into a child’s heart – covering the real truth – they are themselves. Loved. Accepted. Enough.
I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be comfortable in their own skin. To simply be themselves. Sure, they carry DNA and traits from Nat and me, but they are not Nat or I. They are them!
And as a dad, God help me if I create excessive avoidable barriers and blockages for my kids becoming their true God-given-selves as human beings.