Years ago, when our son Reid was 3 or 4, he was always picking, picking, picking the skin on his arms. He picked himself bloody. I wondered, "Why?"
I really pushed myself, then. And, I fell into the habit of pushing my family, too. I yelled at my sons Josh and Reid, to make them cooperate. Do this. Do that. Hurry, hurry, hurry.
Reid's habit of picking his bloodied arms continued. It made me cranky.
One day, I began yelling at Reid, for some minor thing.
Immediately he began picking his arms.
And I realized with a shock that I was the reason why he was picking himself bloody.
Immediately I felt a deep shame. After that morning's appointments, I went to one of our local Catholic churches, and asked for a priest and confessed my sin -- in essence, years of damaging my child's personality with my great big, loud mouth.
I then went home and sat Reid down and told him what I had realized -- that I was his problem -- and apologized to him and promised that I would make it up.
I don't think that I ever yelled at him again, or needed to.