I hurt as I listened to the caller. My thoughts were, “we hear this way too often”. On the other end of the phone was a mother crying. Shock was what she was feeling as she poured out her heart with the facts concerning the last 24 hours. The pain she and her husband had was more than they could bear as they heard of the trouble their child was in and the discovery of his secret lifestyle. She wept as she remembered the events of their son’s life since his birth. The time she held him in her arms for the first time, his first day at school, sitting by his bed waiting for his fever to break. Where was this person now? …..So many questions with no answers.
I sat still as our conversation ended. “Quite Listening” was all I knew to give this caller that was venting pain. The question was asked, “what can you suggest for us right now?” I searched for words of advice that would give them some kind of path of healing, an awareness of how to make the “decisions” that will be before them. It was as though they had been knocked down and now had to get up and go in for another round. They were willing to fight for their son to the end. And at the same time, they knew they had to deal with the anger and disappointment and they could not deny it was too much for them. But there was no way out. Having no energy, they still were not about to quit. Time heals as it always does; yet they needed something to get their footing on right now, to start this new arena they never dreamed they would be in.
In my files I ran across this handout. I had used it a few years back when asked to give a session at a women’s meeting. At that time several of the families were going through the same thing my friend faced. The subject was about Disappointment in Parenting. I did my research and prepared the following to help my friend.
Parenting is an Art not a Science:
In science, you do the same things over and over again and come up with the same results. But in art each piece is an original. Each child is an original, a unique individual, unlike any person in the whole world. The process of child rearing is not applying a formula in order to build a product, but rather participating in the growth of a life that already contains predetermined qualities.
Parental behavior affects children:
Our beliefs and attitudes shape children’s feelings, actions and personalities. It is easy to cause “damage places” that can hurt a child’s view of God or themselves. Our earthly parenting resembles God’s care. Our heavenly Father plays many roles in our lives, including protector, nourisher, chastener, comforter, deliverer etc. He acted with and spoke to His children in the past and He continues to model the same fatherly attributes toward us, His children in this generation. The book of Exodus gives us an example:
1. God heard His children’s cries of distress as they endured slavery (Ex.2:24; 3:7-10)
2. He promised to be with them (3:12-22)
3. He protected them (11:5-7; 14)
4. He instructed and encouraged them (14:2, 13-14)
5. He provided for their physical nourishment (15:22-27; 16:11-21)
6. He rebuked them (16; 28)
(And all of this before they had been on the road two months)
Your struggling child will need to hear you affirm:
1. Your unconditional love for them (I will love you regardless);
2. Your unqualified acceptance (you are mine and I am yours, period);
3. Your reliability and availability (I will be there when you need me);
4. Their importance in God’s eyes and ours (you were created for a purpose);
5. Their worth as individuals (you are unique);
6. Their competence and adequacy ( give statements like “I know you can do it!”).
Living a Balanced Life with Proper Priorities:
I am convinced when we live a Balanced Life with our Priorities in order our children will have our presence and influence through out their lives. When life seems to be demanding so much, storms are raging about to take over, step back and take a look at how you are living your life in the here and now. What can you change to get you back to that DEPENDANCE on God? What is your attitude? You will be able to look back and be thankful for how your relationship grew with Father and with the child’s acting out his/her hurts. The lessons in life build us and will develop strong character. Someday you will be helping someone else get through the same thing you are going though. Who knows…. your child might one day help someone else through the wilderness they are traveling through today. Whatever the out come of the trial you are facing, always remember….. Your life can lead the Way as you Trust God to the end…YOU ARE NOT ALONE HE IS WITH YOU!