I cast a nervous glance at my husband over the top of the heads of our tired kids. We had been traveling since the early hours of the morning and had finally arrived at our destination. We made it as far as the airport but now found ourselves standing outside the curbside in the rain waiting for our rental car shuttle. As one shuttle company after another pulled up and then away the minutes rolled well past our pick up time and annoyance set in.
Traveling wasn’t new to us as a couple or as a family. Actually, it is a high value we hold to but with 3 kids in tow, we have to get creative when it comes to staying under budget. This time was no exception. E-Z Rent or was it Budget Car something?…. I couldn’t remember the name of the company I had rented through when I thought I had stumbled upon the deal of a lifetime only a week earlier online.
Almost an hour passed before we were able to come up with a phone number and I dialed, secretly wishing my kids weren’t in earshot so I could give them a piece of my mind.
No Answer. I dialed again, still no answer, again and again, no answer…
By this point in the story, my husband and I had exchanged words and let’s just say we did not keep the situation lighthearted. We were all tired, hungry, and more than ready to get out of the airport and on the road to our destination.
Fast forward a few hours (I wish I were kidding) and to make a long story short, we finally found ourselves buckled into a rental car but by now we were all over-spent on just about every level. As I looked in the rear-view mirror at our children in the backseat my heart sank a little. I realized that the way we had handled the situation would go on the “better luck next time” list. The day felt like one huge parenting fail.
This travel ordeal could have easily been swept under the rug. We could have justified how we responded as parents and wrote it off as no big deal. Instead, we chose that day to demonstrate the character traits of humility and forgiveness for our children.
We apologized to one another. We apologized to each of our kids.
Asking for forgiveness can be difficult, but in reality, when we mess up and ask our kids for forgiveness, we have the unique opportunity to model a quality that most of us aspire for our children to have. Our kid’s character traits are often influenced and shaped by watching their parents, especially when things get difficult. Asking for forgiveness is no exception.
“ Jesus gave them this answer, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself, he can do only what he sees his Father doing because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19
My prayer in all of our imperfections as parents is that God will use our brokenness to teach our children how to respond when we fall short. I hope the reflections of our weakness only strengthens the light of God’s great love and forgiveness for them. I hope that our kids will begin to imitate the Father and do as He does.
“Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6
Nicki Behnke (More of Nicki’s writings can be found on her blog reallifeinreverse.blogspot.com)