My son Jonathan often teases about a list of parenting offenses he could sue me for—and win. Some of the infractions he cites include the times my husband and I smoked in the house even though Jonathan had asthma. Sadly, all our social functions fixated on drinking and smoking. I will also not add to Jonathan’s list by mentioning the emotional abuse my kids suffered as my codependent conduct escalated.


In my defense, the only child training I received was from my hard-working single mom who never smoked and occasionally sipped a Highball. Yet, in my Pennsylvania hometown, drinking and smoking was as entrenched as the coal mine that zigzagged beneath our modest row home.


Whether we come from a single, or “wholesome” two-parent family, none of us can claim to have graduated with honors from a child-rearing academy. We have all fallen short, but did the best with what we had.


This does not excuse the actions of parents whose children have lived through extreme emotional and physically abusive childhood experiences. I pray for the children who face fear and confusion because of the mixed signals they receive from the addict and co-addict the so-called adults in their home. It is time for us to admit our shortcomings, forgive others and ourselves. This is the healing lesson we must pass on to our children. For our sake and theirs.


Today is Forgive Mom and Dad Day. The following is from the website

Parenting is an enormously challenging task and although some parents are better than others, none are perfect. Forgive Mom and Dad Day presents a perfect opportunity to let go of past hurts and frustrations, to let well-meaning but disappointing parents off the hook, and to find freedom from nagging resentments. Forgiving opens the door to a brighter future.

As children strive to become autonomous young adults, and parents try to adapt to the changes, there is ample room for arguments, misunderstandings and deeply wounded feelings. Forgive Mom & Dad Day encourages acceptance. Accept that parents are human and capable of making mistakes. Accept that parenting is done without a guidebook; parents must do the best they can with the resources they have. Accept and understand that letting go of resentments benefits both parents and children, and leads to greater health, happiness and well-being.


And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:12-14 NKJV).