When I was about 8-years-old we lived in central California. Our yard was composed of adobe dirt. The kind that bricks are made of. This particular afternoon my mother was off and gone and my father was in charge. He was working in the yard and we were playing outside. We found a muddy spot and began playing in it. We added water and began throwing mud at each other. When we were done we washed most of the mud of with the hose and continued playing outside. When my mother got home she went to check on her newly planted flowers seeds (that we didn’t know about). After looking at the mud hole that we had created she came looking for us. After confessing our fun and assuring our mother that we did not know she had planted flowers we were forgiven. My mother then called me over and we went looking for my father. What I did not know was that I had big clots of mud that had dried in my long hair. My mother was not happy because I now had a head full of small adobe bricks. She took me to my father and explained her displeasure. The mud in my hair could not be soaked out. It would have to be broken out. Since my father had allowed the mud fight it was his responsibility to remove the dried mud. After some discussion it was decided that a hammer would be required for this process. I was told to lay my head on my Daddy’s workbench and he proceeded to break the globs of dried mud with his hammer. These were not light taps that crushed them into powder. It took a little more effort. Some took several tries because of the size of the mud ball and/or the amount of hair involved. Some of these mud balls were close to my head and required some precision and care. I don’t know how long it took, but my dad never let us throw mud again.
Through this whole process of pounding his hammer around his daughters head I’m sure my father was a little stressed. I, on the other hand, never worried that he would miss and accidentally hit me with the hammer. I remember talking to him throughout the whole process. I have laughed about it all my life since. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized how difficult a job that would be. That is how much I trust my Daddy and in all my life he has never done anything to lessen that trust.
This is how I want children to feel about me. To know that I would never intentionally hurt them. To know that no matter what I will be there for them. It is not easy to be trustworthy. There are times that I fall down or over-estimate my abilities. Again, this is where forgiveness comes into play. As long as people know that I’m really trying then I know I am doing well.