Matt Testimony – Part 8
“I really try to be intentional with my kids with teaching lessons. My dad was physically there but very absent emotionally, and in a lot of other ways, because of his own addictions. I had to learn how to shave on my own and tie my own tie. All those classic TV moments, I didn’t have any of that. With my kids, what am I doing every day to teach my son to care for women? I can teach this to him now. ‘Son, your job is to speak life into women, your job is to protect women, you should work hard to provide for women.’ Not that any woman can’t do that stuff, but that’s a lesson I want him to learn.
Then for my daughter, ‘You don’t have to be the cheerleader – you can also play sports. You don’t have to be regulated to society’s view of women in these capacities: you can do this, and you can do that, and you can pursue this dream and you can have the strength. If you want to be in the cheer squad, that’s fine! Just don’t think you’re relegated to that. You have the ability as a woman to be strong.’
For me, how can I be at those stages in their life consistently so when they get older they think ‘My dad used to say this to me’, cause I don’t have any of that. I don’t have any like ‘Well my dad always said’. I do have some of them but they’re not good. Now I’m like how can I be that voice in their life? I’m mindful of that now. I try my best.
For my own parents, you have to forgive them. As you become a parent, you realize, oh ya I hope my kids forgive me. You can’t put a parameter of ‘once they do this I’ll forgive.’ It doesn’t affect them; they’re still doing their thing. You’re giving their dysfunction more power over your current ability to function or not by holding these grudges. The best thing you can do is forgive and move on. I want to grow. I don’t want to become them. If I hold onto it, I will become the very thing I’m trying not to become. Whether you ever want to apologize or just want to justify it, I’m free from it, I forgive you, I accept you as you are, I don’t blame you for it. I had to go through that in my 20s quite a bit, learning how to do that.
I try to be very understanding that words carry weight and to speak those words and then when I do say dumb things cause I’m frustrated, being very quick, not quick in the moment, but being very quick in the day to come at a meaningful time and really apologize to my kids. Not like ‘Oh I’m sorry dad was mad’, that’s still kind of like a slap in the face. It’s cheap. More like waiting until the end of the day, we’ve all had time to think about what dad did, dad comes in and goes ‘Hey son, you know that you were doing some things but that never gives dad the right to say that to you. I’m really sorry, do you forgive me?’ Making those moments, even the bad blow-up moments, significant, so that those words get trapped in their brain as life lessons, because I never had anything like that.”