I once broke my toe ice-skating. Ok, so I wasn’t actually skating; I wasn’t even on ice. I was watching figure skating on TV while spinning around the living room in my socks, pretending. The ephemeral Sergei Grinkov and Ekaterina Gordeeva were performing in the winter Olympics, and they were breathtaking. I swooshed my leg around once more and slammed my pinky toe against a leg of the coffee table. Crack! Swelling. Purple. Pain.
My parents had been laughing at my antics all along, so when I crumpled in a heap on the carpet, they seemed to think it was part of the show. My dad asked with a chuckle, “Did you hurt the table?” (They gave me a little more sympathy when they realized that I was actually hurt, but there’s not a whole lot you can do for a broken pinky toe, so we just iced and taped it.)
When one of my own kids comes inside crying because he fell off a bike/skateboard/tree/fence or homemade scaffolding constructed from chairs, boxes and other random unstable things (hypothetically speaking, ahem), I find myself asking, “Are you bleeding? Are you broken? If not, then dust it off.” Of course I care if they are injured, but I also don’t want to be an over-protective parent who coos and coddles to every minor boo-boo.
At some point in life, we have to learn how to take care of our klutzy selves. As parents (or parent-figures to young people in our lives), part of our job is to prepare our kids to enter the real world equipped to handle life’s bumps and bruises. The catch, however, is also to teach them about how to deal with the injuries that can’t simply be bandaged or iced. By fessing up to our own mistakes and being transparent (as age-appropriate, of course) with our struggles, we can model a healthy example of being dependent on someone, and that person is Christ.
Psalm 147:3-5 reads, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (NIV). The role of the all-knowing and infallible God is already taken, so you don’t have to pretend to be perfect. It’s ok to be human. Kids can see through our facades more easily than we often think they can, anyway. We are going to make ridiculous mistakes as grown-ups and fall flat on our faces from time to time. Dust it off, lean on the One who created you, and get back up.