Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you

I never understood this when I was a child when my father said this to me one night after I did something foolish. I honestly don't even remember what I had done, but I do remember my dad's reaction. (Before you all jump to conclusions and assume I am a survivor of physical abuse, hold your horses and continue reading!)

My dad never abused me or my younger brother. As a matter of fact he did quite the opposite. He was and still is an amazing father and he lived and breathed for us as children. He worked his tail off providing for us and going above and beyond to make sure that our childhood was special. A childhood chock full of happy memories.

What's my point you ask? Where am I going with this?

Well, I'll tell you. Grab a cup of joe and pull up a seat!!

My point is this: while I don't remember what I did, I remember that phrase coming out of my father's mouth as he handed down the consequence for my actions. He followed it up with, "It's because I love you that I'm doing this."
If memory serves me correctly he took away a fun outing that he had planned and I was not allowed to participate in.

Now my reaction to hearing those words at the time was that of any pre-teen child who hears "It's because I love you that I'm doing this AND, "This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you". I remember thinking something along the lines of "Yeah, whatever Dad, What a crock of crap. What does he mean he's doing this cause he loves me and it's gonna hurt him more. That doesn't even make any sense."

And that is how it went in my house. I would occasionally screw up as all children do, and I would hear a similar spiel time and time again. And each time I thought the same things.

Now as a parent myself twenty years later, I want nothing but the best for my children. I live and breathe for them just like my dad did when he was raising his children. There is no greater joy on this earth than seeing your children happy and knowing that it is because of you that they are happy.

Working hard, thinking up ideas, planning trips and outings, saving up. This is what the coach and I do and it is all for our kids. Enjoying life with our children. A pretty simple concept if you ask me, but it is one that you don't ever understand until you become a parent yourself.

On the flip side, the hurt you feel inside when you must fulfill one of the not so enjoyable roles as a parent, by disciplining your children when necessary is another unexpected emotion that you can't comprehend until you are put in that situation.

How do I know this? Because it happened to me. Not this past summer but one summer ago, the athlete did something so shocking and disbelieving it had the coach and I speechless. (I can't get into it right now it is too long of a story. I will blog about it sometime soon and thank God I can look back and laugh about it now. At the time however, laughing was last thing on my mind.)

Bottom line was, the athlete chose to do something that forced us as parents to make a very difficult decision. His consequence broke my heart in two, BUT it was the perfect consequence for the crime. We handed it down to him and he took it like a champ. It was here that without even realizing what I was doing, I found myself uttering those exact same words my father used to say to me, and understanding at that moment what he meant. It was like the biggest lightbulb on the planet went off and smashed into a thousand pieces all around me. Suddenly I knew that my father had spoken the complete truth years before. "It really does hurt me more than it hurts you", I thought to myself.

The athlete was solemn. He did lots of nodding and apologizing. He said he understood what I meant when I said those words to him and that he understood his punishment. Inside he was probably thinking to himself, "yeah whatever mom, what a crock of crap. What does she mean this is gonna hurt her more than me? That doesn't even make any sense!) Just like I did as a child years before.

It is my wish that someday, years from now, he too will experience that great lightbulb explosion that I had, and he will finally know that his parents really did do what they did because they loved him.

6 comments:

  1. Just wait until they are teenagers and that phrase takes on a whole new meaning! ;)

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  2. And I think your wish will come true! :)

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  3. you are making your dad proud

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  4. When I think of that saying, for me at least, the hurt I think about is that of not making my son happy. I mean we can't let them get away with everything. We want to give them the world, but there are limitations. But it's the truth, it does hurt us parents more than them. And in time, they too will understand.
    Stopping by to give you a big welcome to the SITSahood. We are so glad you could join us and look forward to seeing you around!

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  5. Found my way here through SITS - just spending some time w/ my coffee finding new blogs this morning.

    I hate having to dole out consequences that cause pain - know there are times when I have to take away from privilege or outing or whatnot - but it IS NOT FUN!

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  6. Isn't it amazing when we have those light-bulb minutes that our parents maybe weren't as dumb as we thought they were?

    I told my son something similar to what you did when he was younger. "If I didn't love you so much, I wouldn't care what you did. It's because I love you so much that I have to make sure you understand what you did was wrong and why."

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So what did ya' think???