I had a conversation a few months ago with my then 25 year-old son Zeplyn. I was going through a difficult time in my life and he failed to do a chore. What would have normally not been a “big” deal on this particular day, it felt like the walls were caving in on me and I, the one who never liked for anyone to see me vulnerable, transparent and REAL just lost it. I began to give him a long litany of reasons why he should help out more which ended in me crying uncontrollably. After what seemed like an hour but was probably closer to three minutes, Zeplyn looked at me and said in a calm voice, “I get it NOW Mom.... This is the first time I have ever seen you cry. You always have it so together I didn’t even know you needed help” Wow! What a wake up call for me. I had been so busy pretending, wearing the mask, and never wanting him or anyone else to see me in any other way than a mantle of STRENGTH. That I had no idea I was sending the WRONG message. I was reminded that the Word of God says, His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
What I learned that day was to:
Take off the Mask with my child: My son didn’t need a Superwoman he needed to see a Mom who was not afraid to show her weaknesses. He needed to see my humanity. We live in a society that stresses IMAGE. That creates all kinds of pretending. We give our children everything except our struggles but it is in the struggle where our children learn to be real, honest and transparent human beings. I learned that there is no reason to keep up an image or to impress even our children. They need to see when we don't have it all together, when we hurt, doubt, have failures and feel bad. We must be humble enough to empty out our pride and be all that God has created us to be. God can’t heal what we fail to reveal. We may not be where we want to be yet, but as long as we have the opportunity to wake up each day, take heart in knowing that we have a been given the gift to be at peace with not being perfect.
Until Next time, Happy Parenting !
Dr. Deborah L. Tillman