Donald Miller, author of the new book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, reports that healthy and high-functioning people often have parents who do not hide their flaws, especially from their own children.
“Healthy people tend to come from families in which parents willingly confessed and were okay with their own weaknesses, even if those weaknesses were quite dark. And those kinds of parents are rare, which is perhaps why super healthy people are so rare.
Imagine growing up in a family in which your parents didn’t pretend to be more righteous, strong, or capable than they actually were, but in fact made mistakes and were perfectly willing to confess and apologize for those mistakes.
Imagine having a father who might occasionally say something like, “You know, son, I’ve noticed you’ve developed a temper. I think you might have gotten that from me. I’m so sorry. It’s hard to control I know. It has cost me a lot in life and I fear it might cost you, too. Will you forgive me for passing that along to you?”
A family like that creates a deep bond of intimacy.”
This would be the opposite of needing to hide your true self to be accepted by your parents. This can feel hard to do because most of us have a layer of armor on ourselves because we aren’t so sure it’s safe being human. Being human means that we have all sorts of characteristics – some feel like flaws. We are afraid that if people know about our flaws they won’t like or love us. The irony of flaws – we try to hide them, but usually everyone around you already sees them and still loves you – in fact, very often it’s the things we are most ashamed of that others find most endearing. But for those things that seem impossible to admit, we begin with some focus and acceptance.
In your family, start small and admit when you don’t know something or admit when you were wrong. This helps kids shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Our kids didn’t sign up to have perfect parents, just real ones.
Read more about this in Donald Miller’s article here.