I am a new daddy! Not because there is a newborn in my life, but because over the past few years I have renewed my relationships with my three daughters.
They are ages 19, 13, and 11, and the foremost reason I feel so blessed to be me. As I wrote in a confessional piece titled "Daddy, Do Better," loving and being loved by them has made a powerful and positive difference in my life.
Having experienced such joy in parenting, I want to encourage all parents, especially men, to reclaim and revitalize their relationships with their children. No matter what age you and your child are, and no matter what your relationship with your child or children is like, there is always room from improvement and the need to deepen intimacy.
As parents, we also need close and appropriate relationships with our children to truly feel good about ourselves and avoid being inundated with regret.
That does not mean that our relationships with our children will be problem-free. There will be challenging moments because "to error is human." Of course, parents are also human, so it is not always our children's fault that they and our relationships with them sometimes falter.
Regardless of the reason for each predicament, it is critically important that we respond with humility, empathy, openness, honesty, forgiveness, and a helping hand rather than with just sternness, defensiveness, judgmental-ism, and rebuke.
Just as we must not always condone, we must not always condemn. We must be wise, even-handed, and circumspect in guiding our children and growing with them.
For parents who are estranged from their child or children, as I once was, there is undying hope for reconciliation until death do you part. And the fount of this hope isn't denial of the needless pain either the child or parent has suffered, but that indomitable desire for a wholesome parent-child relationship that seems to indwell every parent and child.
It may seem impossible to even fathom the healing of gaping familial wounds, but as long as there's the breath of life in you and your child, there is a real and fighting chance that you can breathe new life into your relationship.
The key is to humble ourselves, and then parent.