I like to jokingly say that my family of origin puts the fun in dysfunctional. In seminary I had to put together a genogram. A genogram is a wonderful diagram of how messed up your family of origin is with detailing the family of origin behavioral history over the course of a couple generations. Mine was fun to do (there is no sarcasm font on WordPress). In the spring, I’ll be taking a course on marriage and family counseling for my Doctor of Ministry work. In it I’ll have to once again do a geneogam. Of course, it’ll be over 10 years since the last time I did one and I know that things have kinda changed…kinda.
Now, I know that my family regularly reads this blog (sometimes I wonder if they’re the only ones but then every so often mine gets picked up by the Christian Reformed Church’s website and then everyone’s free to read my weirdness) and they’ll have their own say about what I’m writing about. Don’t worry, I’m not going to air dirty laundry, but I’ll probably get a text, Facebook message, or call here sometime this week.
Today, my siblings and I are close. We went through hell together and back again. This forged together a relationship where we can pretty much be jerks to each other and love one another anyway. Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with my folks. It took years of therapy to be able to do that (especially with my dad…love ya dad) but I’m at a point where later in my life my family relationships are better than when they were when I was a punk in high school.
I want the same relationship in my own now family as I do with my family of origin but without all the crud we had to go through to get there. Is that too much to ask for? I don’t want the pain to be passed down to my kiddos. I don’t the strife to be between myself and my wonderful wife (who puts up with me on so many levels). I want us to have a strong bond forged by a fire not bellowed by strife and struggles.
And so I pray.
I pray each day.
I pray each day for my family. I pray for my wife. I pray for my kiddos. I pray for myself to be a Godly father and husband. I pray that my family might be strong together. And then I work hard at it. And I fail miserably sometimes…a lot.
There are times where my son wants to have a lightsaber fight and I’m just too downright tired or in the middle of something. And it hurts to see his face when I have to say “no.” But he still hasn’t stopped asking. And the other day, myself, my son, and my daughter all had a wonderful lightsaber fight where hands were bruised, tears were had, and we also laughed real hard.
We try to have a family movie night each week. It’s a well guarded time with the family, a pizza, and some movie or TV show series. We went through the whole Avatar: The Last Airbender series together (twice). We watched The Clone Wars until it started getting a bit dark. My kiddos have fought over which Star Wars movie for us to watch. It’s a great time together.
I try to make time where I take our kiddos out to lunch each Saturday to McDonalds. They love it and it gives my wife a break. It also gives me time to just spend with them.
I love these times.
And I want it to last. Like forever. But I know it won’t.
I love what Paul writes in Ephesians 5 and 6. Many people get all wrapped up in the whole wives submitting stuff that they pass over the more important part where Paul writes
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25, 28
That’s a tall order to fill. Not only is my wife my sister in Christ, but I’m to love her and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus did for the church. That’s a lot of responsibility.
Paul also says this about fathers
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
That’s a tall order to fill. That’s a lot of responsibility to have.
I know my kiddos watch what I do and imitate it (like spitting and picking noses…ew, I know…now you probably won’t want to shake hands with me). I know that they pick up on my language I use. I know that they gravitate towards the things my wife and I like to do and watch. Their eyes are always on us, their ears are always listening to us whether we realize it or not.
So I try. I try in my words and actions. And I’m flawed.
I just have two hopes for my kiddos when they get older.
1) That when they do their own genogram in the future, it’s not as messed up as mine was the first time I did it.
2) They’ll have good enough health care coverage to cover all the counseling and therapy they’ll probably need as having me for a father.
I’m going to do my best and I’m most likely going to fail. But that’s okay. My kiddos will see that myself and my wife are only human and we’re going to do the best we can to forge the bond of family in a way that is fruitful and healthy. And that’s what I pray for.