I got up for a long walk along the shore of Lake Erie this morning. I walked past an outdoor chapel service (I know…but I’m going to a later service) and I heard exactly one phrase as I was passing…
“When you are a teenager, you laugh because you think your parents are never going to understand…and when you are a parent, you laugh because you think your teenagers are never going to understand…”
You could replace the word “laugh” with “cry.”
The truth is, they all understand…from their own perspective, from their own experience, and from their own bias and self- interest.
And here is the root of all conflict…all misunderstanding.
It doesn’t make them bad people. It simply is what it is, and the goal is to move both sides closer to one another.
We listen, and make sure we understand as best we can…and we take the other person by the hand and try to help nudge them toward understanding our position.
We continue showing up, even when the others have us at our wits end. I guess that’s what love really is…to keep showing up…to stay at the table even when everything is a mess.
It’s Father’s Day. So I guess we are talking about parenting. But maybe we’re just talking about life.
Being a dad is one of the hardest and best things I have had the chance to do. Over the years, we’ve had messes, but we have muddled our way through and there’s richness in that.
I hope the same for our communities…our country…our world. We have messes, for sure. I hope we can stay at the table and find the richness that’s on the other side.
Happy Father’s Day.