I have recently become aware that I have a tendency to expect my children to be better than even I am myself. That is something I didn't want to happen as I remember my Dad always expecting so much of me, all the time. To always remember my manners, speak correctly, write neatly, not be shy, be clean, be a hard worker, be smart, not be scared of animals five times my size, to not be squeamish, to eat liver and onions and like them, to remember what pliers were, how to change the socket from a half inch to a 7/16, when he was working outside in the summer shirtless to know when a fly landed on his back and swish it off and once it got dark to shine the flashlight where he was looking; in short-to be perfect.
I will say my flashlight holdings skills have been the topic of many a discussion. Tim is very proud of that odd skill I have. And it's been very useful to him from time to time.
While the things I expect of my children are of a lesser degree (I think) I tend to not be lenient, even though I vividly remember the sinking feeling I had in my stomach when Dad asked me to do something that I didn't understand how to do or why it was such a big deal. He never "dumbed down" his speech and just expected us to know what he was talking about. I despised the feeling of not knowing what I was supposed to do when it was evident he thought no explanation was necessary. He's like that to this day, when he's talking about some job he's working on, like I am a carpenter of 40 years too. It makes me want to throw out some accounting terms to turn the tables so he's in the dark, but I don't.
I have tried to not be so harsh on my kids as my dad was but I still expect "first time obedience" every time, to answer when I ask a question, and to know when I mean business. And those are tall orders, I know, I remember. They're just kids.
I know first off, that it is my job to instruct them and not to be a source of irritation to them. I also need to remember that I can't expect them to know things I haven't taught them, which sometimes I forget. Tim is great at helping to explain and teach things to the boys, which helps.
All that to say that some of the strife we go through at our house is because of me. I realize that and I'm working on it, but it's hard and I expect I'll fail a lot of times before I get it right, if I get it right. But that's the beauty of family, they'll keep loving me and we'll all grow and learn together. Just like me and my Dad.