Some years ago, I sat with my daughters at a wonderful father/daughter banquet at our church. Someone at the table asked my youngest daughter, Angela, what I’d done that made the biggest impression on her. I had no idea what she would say, but of course I hoped for something spectacular. :)
I’ll never forget what she shared because it was so powerful to me. She said, “I remember one time when dad was harsh with me. Then a few minutes later he came back into my room, and he cried and asked my forgiveness. I’ve never forgotten that.”
That’s what Angie remembered as having the most impact on her—something I had actually done wrong, and then asked her forgiveness for! I thought, Isn’t that interesting? It shows how being a good example isn’t limited to doing great and magnificent things. Sometimes it’s when we admit we did wrong things.
This is God’s grace—He can redeem even our failures! (Provided we recognize and confess them to our children.) Saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me," may teach your children more than you would have by never failing, and far more than pretending you never fail.
How humbling and also encouraging to know that parents who admit their shortcomings don’t lose their children’s trust. They gain it.
Following are some parenting books I would recommend: Gospel Powered Parenting by Bill P. Farley, Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp (I read Tripp’s book when our girls were young, and I think it’s great), and What the Bible Says about Parenting by John MacArthur.