The two young men I share my house with are insane. One is crazily self conscious and, at the same time, Senor BossyAss, and the other is a mildly sweeter version of the Tasmanian Devil. The first is clingy and seeking of affirmation, and the second is independent to an extent that is truthfully a bit horrifying.
The first is the pre-teen and the second is the two year old.
Now, for those in the bleachers it is tempting to say “well, that happens at that age!” But here is the thing that as a dad and a man wakes me up at night.
They are Exactly like me.
The ways they are like me that are endearing are either a) so charming that how could anyone possibly have an issue, or b) reminiscent of how I was when I was younger and grew out of.
The ways they both scare me?
I watch them in the throes of the exact same kinds of issues I STILL struggle with. So, how am I supposed to guide them through terrain I still have a hard time navigating myself?
I struggle with self confidence, and compensate by being a bit of a know-it-all. Still haven’t mastered that. Impulse control? On a scale of 1-10, scoring a 3 is a serious win for me. According to the Love Languages books I interpret feeling loved through physical contact. And holy CRAP do I have some serious trust issues with authority figures. So, what the hell do I have to teach my kids?!?!
And what do I take away from it?
The same damn thing. Humility.
Because I am still learning. And so are they. I have issues that confound me. So will they. I struggle on a daily basis, and when they are my age they will as well, with some of the same things, some different. Because at the end of the day, perhaps one of the strongest lessons I can teach my sons is that part of being a grown-ass-man is facing the fact that you are a work in progress until the day you die. That a weakness is an opportunity to train yourself to be better and stronger.
And that ultimately it might just be our children that show us the battles that are worth fighting for.