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Your transparency also allows your children to have a part in your life.
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Life Transparency & Parenting
Dec 1997 Alan S.L. Wong

Life Transparency & Parenting

Throughout the Bible, the heroes of faith are presented as men subject to like passions as we are (Jas. 5:17) with strengths and weaknesses. For example, it not only portrays Abraham as a friend of God but also as a liar who jeopardised his wife's virtue. The Apostle Paul shared freely about his past and his sense of unworthiness (1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). Paul was not afraid to allow others to see him as he was.

There is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) transparency about the characters in the Bible. But many of us go around wearing a mask. Why are we afraid to let others know who we really are?

We are afraid to be transparent because we fear others may not like what they see and reject us. Worse, your words or actions may be misinterpreted and gossip, like wild fire, may spread to many others. Another hindrance to transparency is the "living by faith" extreme of denying our feeling.

Therefore, we put up this "I-Must-Always-Be-Strong" facade such that nothing can go out and nothing can come in. It becomes impossible to "connect" (build close relationships) with others.

No one really likes wearing a mask. We need a relationship with someone with whom there is nothing to hide. The Samaritan woman, who met Jesus at the well, first parried with him ... denying that she had any husband. But she ultimately found relief in the light of being known ... that she had had five husbands and that the man she now has is not her husband (John 4:16-18,28 c.f. 3:20).

I believe that transparency with God is the foundation for inter-personal transparency. If we cannot tell God (who accepts us just as we are) what is on our minds and hearts then how can we do the same with another human.

What has transparency got to do with parenting children?
  1. When one of my boys "wet" in his school shorts, I told them about a similar situation that happened to me ... how I felt embarrassed and how silly I was in not telling my teacher about the incident and had to go about in my wet shorts. Being transparent about my weaknesses and failures with my children gives them the freedom to fail. It also assures them of being accepted and loved unconditionally.

  2. Moreover, being transparent helps my children to see me as real ... as human (i.e., with problems). Hopefully, this will encourage my children to share their problems with me. This opening up, in turn, will enable me to know where the application of God's Word are to be made in their lives. All these will deepen the parent-child relationship.

  3. Your transparency also allows your children to have a part in your life. My children had a glimpse of my struggles when I sought to re-enter the working world in 1994. They prayed to God to give me a job and had the opportunity to see how God provided a job for me.
However, to be transparent does not mean total honesty in sharing all your thoughts and feelings on any subject or person.

  1. Know the maturity of your children ... can they handle what you will be sharing?

  2. Exercise caution in revealing feelings or facts that may hurt your children or your spouse.

  3. Know why you are sharing what you are sharing ... focus on Christ in sharing your experiences or struggles and seek to help your children know God and His ways.