How Do I Show My Children that I Love them?

By Andrew R.

Recently, while I was at work I got a phone call from my wife. She sounded a little upset as she told me that the toilet was clogged and that she did not know what to do. I asked what had happened and she told me that my three-year-old daughter had flushed something down the toilet. I became frustrated when I asked my daughter about this. She did not want to talk nor did she initially want to take any responsibility for her actions even though she had admitted to my wife that she had flushed five plastic “flossers” down the toilet. Based on my wife’s reaction about how poorly the toilet was performing, we both suspected that she may have flushed more than that.

I left work, stopping at the hardware store to obtain supplies for all possibilities. My wife and I decided that our three-year-old should help us in the unclogging process so that she could better understand the impact of what she had done and not repeat this in the future. Using a large hair band, my wife was able to secure a latex glove onto my three-year-old’s hand. Being unable to unclog the toilet after several attempts with the plunger, we were finally forced to remove the toilet. We laid it on its back in the bathtub and my three-year-old and I worked in tandem to remove about 13 flossers, and I then found an old toilet paper roll that was responsible for impeding the “flow of traffic.”

We had a long discussion as we stood there with our dirty hands about what is and what is not appropriate to flush down the toilet. As I now have an opportunity to reflect on the experience, overall it is comical in many ways as I envision what we looked like sitting there with our latex gloves on, elbow deep into the toilet. Several thoughts cross your mind as you are becoming that closely acquainted with a toilet. While I have reflected on some of the comical aspects, there were also times during the process when I lost my patience, raised my voice and got upset.

This experience caused me to reflect on being a father and a parent. It is the most difficult and most rewarding thing that I have ever done! There are times when I want to pull my hair out and other times when I experience pure joy and contentment. As I sat there with my sweet, precious, three-year-old, I had to consider what she must have been thinking and feeling while the series of events that led to our predicament had unfolded. First, I considered the fact that the flossers were placed in a basket above the toilet and from that I assume she knocked them into the toilet on accident. Next, I imagine she felt a bit foolish and maybe even a bit scared when she discovered what she had done. She may have reasonably assumed that we would be upset with her for her actions. Based on this understanding it is easy to see why she would have attempted to flush the toilet to hide her mistake.

After I had taken the opportunity to gain insight into my three-year-old’s actions, the thoughts that kept coming into my mind were of my own imperfections, struggles, and trials. Then I was reminded how patient and merciful God, the perfect parent, is toward me. I make so many mistakes yet God is able to reach beyond that. He is able to see me for who I truly am. He knows me intimately; he is able to see not only who I currently am, but who I can become. He expects much of me while nurturing me along the way.

While I am imperfect as a parent, I am trying my best to show both high expectations and love to my children because I want to them to be happy and successful in life. My daughter and I were able to bond through this experience. After we had worked together to do the hard work, we were able to play, giggle and enjoy each other. Later, she told me that I was the best dad in the world. That little nugget of gold made it well worth sorting through the less desirable nuggets we had encountered earlier that evening.

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