Have you ever wondered if how you feel gets in the way of what you should do?
We are creatures of emotion, by nature.
But those very emotions that can grant us strength to barrel through something difficult, can also hinder us from making the right choice at times.
Emotions can taint perspectives, even love…and if we’re not careful, can be the cause of harm to our children.
Taking Responsibility When No On Else Would
Many years ago, one of my kids made some bad choices and got into trouble.
One of the things I have told each and every child of mine is, “Please don’t go where I can’t follow and protect you.”
My child made some choices that took him out of my protection and eventually into the arms of the state.
When my wife and I were at the courthouse waiting, we noticed more than half a dozen youth, all older than our young teen, with their mothers. I was the only father present.
Odd thing was, each one of them had a lawyer with them.
Over the course of then next 30 minutes, I heard each and every lawyer say in one from or another, “This isn’t your child’s fault.” To which the mother would coddle the kid, who more often than not looked…bored.
Now, I’d considered a lawyer, but something felt…wrong about it. So after discussing the issue with my wife, we both agreed on what we were there for.
Our child had broken the law, and we were there to accept full responsibility and accountability for breaking that law.
Yes, we felt a bit scared, a lot concerned, but our WHY defined what kind of parents we were and what we required of our children. Part of that was to be law-abiding people.
People who took full responsibility for their actions.
Which came to the complete shock of the prosecuting attorney.
“Where’s…your lawyer,” she asked us as we were ushered into the meeting room.
“We don’t have one,” I explained. “My child is guilty. He turned himself in. We’re here to take responsibility for his choices.”
She sat down and smiled at us.
“I had the chance to interview your son. He’s not like the kids out there. He was so proper. ‘Yes, mam. No, mam. Please. Thank you. And he confessed everything.” She leaned forward then, “He doesn’t belong here. I’m convinced he’s a good boy who made a bad choice, so I’d like to help.”
She did just that.
Our son was placed in a wonderful program we couldn’t afford, free of charge by order of the judge.
Our boy graduated with flying colors, tot he standing ovation of the courtroom, led by the judge himself.
“Successes like this, and youth like you are why those of us in this courtroom chose this profession,” he said, beaming at our child. Then he turned to the case worker.
“Is there any reason why the state should not return full custody of this young man back over to his parents?”
The case worker shook his head. “Your honor, there is nothing the state could do that the Buckley’s couldn’t do ten times better. They’re parenting Rockstars.”
I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever received.
Parenting is an emotional business.
We worry about our children.
We experience pain and anxiety over these lives we brought into the world.
But our WHY—also helps us to keep our emotions in check—so we can do the right things for the right reasons.
Sometimes even when it goes against everything we actually want.
I have to admit that this is one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent for me.
What we go through when raising our children is hard to describe, and often makes no sense to those who either don’t have kids…or don’t care.
Take a close look at the WHY you’ve been crafting.
This document, or in my own case a collection of documents, is an agreement with myself—outlining how I will conduct myself.
It also outlines WHY I will conduct myself the way I will.
…because the goals and objectives I have for my child and my family as a whole are worth more than my emotions.
Remind yourself of that.
Because if your emotions are more important than the goals you’ve set for yourself, you might want to rethink them.
There’s a time and place for our emotions.
Our WHY is a tool to help us keep those emotions in their proper place, so we can accomplish our parenting goals.
I don’t personally think there’s such a thing as too much emotion.
Not as long as we keep them in check, so they don’t ruin what maters most.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Take a personal inventory of your emotions.
List any situations where you have allowed your emotions to take the lead over your principles.
Get feedback from your spouse—as there are oftentimes situations we miss and can use another perspective.
Make a plan on how you’ll keep your emotions in check the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.
You’ve got this.
“It’s only a lack of control you should fear, not feeling too much.”