“Why did you tell your dad and your older sisters didn't?”
I think that’s a good question. I’m asked it often. I've asked it myself.
Why me? Why did I get away? Why did I tell?
I have several ideas as to why. Today I’m going to focus on one.
My father hadn't disappointed me . . . yet.
I was only four years old when the teenage field hand attempted to molest me. My father was still my hero. He was my source to make wrongs right. I remember running from the barn and racing toward my dad without hesitation. And I told him. Everything.
There was a freedom in my steps and a freedom with my words.
But that freedom didn't last throughout my childhood and it was rare within my adulthood.
Why? My father wasn't perfect. Neither was I. And life happened. Stuff got in the way.
And because my father parented with his parents’ parenting philosophy of obedience training rather than relational parenting, the distance between my father and me widened. The challenges of life multiplied. I ran in many different directions with my thoughts and problems, but rarely to my dad.
For these reasons, I urge parents to build the bridge of communication regarding the issue of sexual abuse with their children. Our imperfections, as parents, will enmesh with our children’s imperfections. Life will happen. Stuff will get in the way. The distance may widen and challenges will multiply.
We always want our kids to run to us—with freedom in their steps and freedom with their words.
Build the bridge. Build it strong. Strengthen it often.