As parents, we sometimes question how much weakness to show our children, if any at all. We think they need to see us strong, so they can feel secure in our strength.
Speaking personally, in my earlier child raising years, I tried to show strength to the best of my ability, no matter how weak I felt inside. I had grown up without what I believed to be “good strength” role models. One parent seemed too strong and the other too weak.
I was wounded by both approaches, and just wanted things to be different for my children. I had not, however, gained the skills for “good strength,” and thus often found myself trying to be something I wasn’t. It took a toll.
When my girls were in their teens, I finally faced the demons of my past and I no longer could play the “strong game,” at which I wasn’t that good anyway. I was broken, and I no longer could hide my brokenness.
I was stressed that my daughters were witnessing me weak and fragile. When talking with my youngest daughter about this one day, she blew me away when she told me that she now saw me as strong. I was facing my demons head-on. She told me it was a good role model for her, because life can be hard, and I was fighting to make things better.
Truth and authenticity are perhaps the best things we can role model to our children. Are there times to protect their hearts? Certainly! Do we need to make sure the things we share are age appropriate? Yes! However, perhaps we need to be more concerned with being honest and authentic, rather than being strong and “perfect.”
Our children will always need a place to come where they can trust what is being said to them.