None of us ever thought being a parent would be easy. We knew our children would do impulsive things. We knew they would make mistakes some of which would have greater consequences than others. We knew there would be acts of defiance. What we haven’t always been able to deal with are those times when our child has done something that ruptures our relationship. Something that sends them to that far country Jesus talks about in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. I am speaking to this issue on February 15th in Oshkosh at the Men of His Word Conference. Please join with me on this blog as I and the attendees of the workshop continue the conversation on how to minister to wounded parents and their children who have wounded them.
3 thoughts on “Wounded Parents Wonder”
One of the things I touched on at the conference yesterday was how vulnerable the heart of a parent is. Last summer I found two dolls at a craft fair that helped me to see this issue. The big doll had these words on its head: To be a mother is to forever have your heart go walking around… The second doll was smaller and on its head were the words:outside your body. This really brought home to me that our children hold our hearts in their hands. As they hang from a tree branch and say, “Look at me!!” we try not to scream but say calmly,” Yes, that is really cool. Now it’s time to come down and have a snack.” What is even tougher is when our children know they have our hearts in their hands and they knowingly squeeze it and hurt it. Give me your comments on this in terms of your experience and how does this influence our parenting.
I thought parenting was easy when my children were little and, for the most part, followed my directions. Then came adolescence and I learned how daunting parenting really was. I didn’t always approach my children as tactfully as I should have. In fact I didn’t try to disguise my anger in some instances. I knew I had failed as a parent when my child left home at 17. It was an agonizing time. Eventually my child reached out and we worked to mend the breach. There are no words to describe the hurt and anguish when relationships unravel between parent and child. Even though my children have their own families and lives, the relationship between parent and child is fragile. I am continually working on how to strengthen our bond because there are still unresolved feelings. I would welcome suggestions from others on what they have done to mend their wounds.
When the relationship ruptures I think we always look at ourselves and ask,” What did I do wrong?” I suppose God Himself wondered when Adam and Eve hid in the bushes and didn’t want to talk to him and when Cain killed Abel and wouldn’t talk about where his brother’s body was hidden. What comforts me as I look at what God did is that He kept hanging around. He maintained contact as much as He could but mostly he waited until his children came to an awareness that where they were wasn’t nearly as good as where they had been when they were in relationship with their Father. This I think is the hardest part of parenting. The waiting. The keeping our words of reproach and judgement to ourselves. The taking every opportunity to let this child know our love has not diminished with the hope that unresolved feelings may yet get resolved one day.