Playing with purpose

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Darned if We Do, Darned if We Don’t

Yes, I know. There is a more profane way to make that statement, but profanity is not my goal. And, because I don’t perceive vulgar or profane communication as intelligent conversation. I am going to settle on ‘darned!’

Conventional wisdom claims this means, nothing you do, will change the outcome. I thought about this as I read a family story written by Franky Schaeffer about his famous parents.

Not two pages into the first chapter and I am convinced he did not like his mother. Everything she did as a mother he seems to conclude it was to benefit her desires to be considered grand and beautiful. I wondered how many parents have lived to witness their children summarize their best intentions as failings.

Out of curiosity, I began asking every adult I met this week about the reaction of their progeny to their upbringing. To a person, they all said their children had lambasted their upbringing as lacking, wrong, or an imposition. Many of us have heard the children we raise declare they would not make their children do something they had been required to do. And that’s okay until somebody’s kid inherits the mess you have released upon the world.

Why do our children find condemnation and resentment when reviewing their “upbringing?” I think it is because we fail in so many of our attempts, we are human. In the eyes of someone looking to you for love, answers, and truth, our children believe we are superhumans. When they find out differently, it is a difficult pill to swallow. Then they discover we have also lied about Santa and the Easter Bunny! Even fantasy is not dependable in the mouth of an adult! When you believed you have been betrayed, a person’s humanity is not seen as a blessing.

We should acknowledge, our failings, and we should never underestimate the power of an apology. Truth is if an adult spoke to us the way we do our children. If another adult called us the names we call our children. Screamed at us because they were tired. Curse us because they had brought the Kentucky fried chicken home that night, but we didn’t want chicken. If your mate stood by while someone else bullied and taunted you, ‘yah’ would still be fighting! It’s a miracle our children only resent us.

Because being human comes with its own set of dependable negativities, it is imperative to always point your children towards GOD. As you lean and depend upon GOD, let your children know the source of your help and contentment. Teach them to talk often to GOD. About you, about siblings, about family, community, and life. If you do not have this dependency on GOD, then take a page from your own child-rearing handbook. Learn to lean not on your own understanding, perhaps by doing so, you can eliminate or address your child’s anger and resentment.

I can remember just after my 10th birthday, for many days after being placed at my Grandmother’s, I would walk west to the top of the hill and gaze into the setting sun. My heart was broken in grief for the home from which I had been torn. My parents had separated. Many evenings I would stand there, the setting sun blazing in my eye, and I would try to imagine what was going on back in Kansas. That entire time tears would roll down my cheeks. For awhile that first year, I was very, very angry. No one had asked me how I felt, what I wanted.

In my intellect, I knew my parents were making moves they believed were necessary. If for no other reason than I had been repeatedly told so. I think it was in my second year. Again, walking that hill alone, praying and thinking about my parents, GOD shifted my perspective.

I suddenly saw them as young children, then teenagers, and lastly young adults at which time they had become my parents. I could see in my mind the hopes of their young hearts. The dreams and plans they had for their own futures. Soon I was weeping for their losses. Weeping for all the surprises and changes that raising a family had brought to their young lives. As I cried I wished to wrap protective arms around them. I wanted them to know how grateful I was for their sacrifices and willingness to bear the burdens that had arrived with parenthood. That day GOD expanded my awareness and freed me from the self-centeredness of my own existence.

My parents were human and fallible, this I knew. But in the measurements of parental care, they were Giants. Even after their divorce, I did not feel the isolation from either of them, that many children experience. Both my parents were a collect call away. This is something they had stressed, and it gave me the sense of security, that initially, the divorce had taken from me. GOD saw my heart, honored my grief, and made me whole.

Though I acknowledge the fallibility of my parents, my memories are filled with the integrity, love, and the personal strength they gave to me. My memories are joyous and precious to me. The rest has been GOD’s to orchestrate and manipulate, and in turn, bless my life.

I wished that I had pointed my oldest children, more often, towards GOD as their source. I am committed to do so with every child I love and help raise. I am confident that my Mother knew how precious she was to me. She has ascended and is no longer burden by this world. But to my Dad, I want to say! Thank you, Daddy, for the selflessness of your walk in this world. You are not perfect but we are a perfect fit. I too need someone to love me in my humanity.

As I read further in Franky Schaeffer’s book about his Mother he wrote. “I still see the world through her eyes. She was there at every stage, including mopping up my vomit – without recrimination – when I took some bad peyote buds after smoking pot when I was fifteen. Whatever I believe, or say I believe now, the shape of my life is defined by my mother’s prayers – whether these have actually been answered of whether the force of her personality was enough to make it so,” (Crazy for GOD, 2007)


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