“Daddy, will you stack my pancakes up so that I can pour the syrup over the top and eat them like you do?” That was my son’s request Wednesday night while I was flipping pancakes for supper. Up to this point, my son has always wanted his pancakes pre-cut into bite-sized pieces. “Yeah, no problem,” I told him. This makes things easier for me, so I’m glad to let him cut his own pancakes from now on. But there was something more significant in our “pancake conversation.” With the words “like you do,” my son reminded me that he is always watching me, learning from me, and imitating what I do.
There are a lot of obvious parenting observations that can be made, but this is a marriage blog, and in our pancake conversation I saw something incredibly significant to marriage. My son is watching, and (at least for now) he wants to be like me. In every word and every interaction, I am setting his “default” for how he sees relationships in general, but specifically how he sees marriage. As he watches, I am teaching him how a husband is supposed to treat his wife. He is continually taking in how I interact with Lisa, how I express love and care, the tone I use with her, how often I encourage her, and how I handle conflict. He sees how I show Lisa respect, and when I'm selfish or selfless. He sees when I make mistakes, and he sees how I give and receive forgiveness. He sees whether or not I make my and Lisa’s marriage the primary relationship for our family, or let other relationships (children, friends, work, etc.) take center stage.
I never thought I was learning about healthy marriage when I was watching my own Dad, but I thank God that I had a Dad who taught me a whole lot about being a good husband by the way he lived his life in front of me. If you didn’t have a good father figure who helped you learn how to be a good husband, I’m sorry for that. But whether you are continuing a positive legacy that goes back for generations, or you are breaking a history of dysfunction and starting a powerful new legacy in your family, take advantage of the “pancake conversations” and teach your sons how to love their future wives, and teach your little girls to seek out a husband who will treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves as a daughter of the King.
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