Ages and Stages Part 5 Perfect Parent? Not!
(a repost from 2014)
It’s great to see the reception that this blog series, “Ages and Stages” has received. The 4000+ views tell me that we, as parents, desire a sense of camaraderie and affirmation. We will never be perfect parents, but we can always be perfecting our parenting.
I wasn’t sure what to write for this last post, but sure enough a few conversations with my adult children brought to light a subject that all parents need to face at some time: wounds of the past.
Once my children became young adults I hoped that opportunities would become available for them to reconcile anything in their past that caused them struggle. I didn’t want them to carry baggage of childhood rejection or adolescent confusion into their adulthood. While we don’t have to do anything to guarantee our children’s physical maturity–nature does that—we do need to do a few things to guarantee our children’s emotional maturity.
Conversations this past week with my adult children were hard. To hear the stories of fear and loneliness; rejection and unclear teaching about relating to the opposite sex; and self-imposed isolation and emotional suppression shocked and saddened me. I never knew. This may seem hard to believe since I am a home educator who is pretty much around her kids all of the time. How can a child be lonely in a house full of people?
Physical proximity does not mean emotional intimacy. In our culture we bond via internet and texting. Those on the other side cannot look into our eyes and see the reality of our souls. Another cultural challenge is our frenetic lifestyles. We can be so busy! I’ve learned that more often than not, we must take the time to knock on our child’s or teen’s door, and enter their world. We need to talk – no, listen to them, expecting at first to be met with the phrase, ‘I’m fine’. But we must keep knocking and making ourselves available; not just to be cheerleaders at sporting events or ballet recitals, but to be shoulders to cry on and hands to pray with.
Unfortunately, most of us did not get this as children and teens. We entered parenthood with handicaps and didn’t even realize it.
Long ago, I heard someone say that we can only do the best we can and we must trust God to fill in the rest. This is the truth. We are not perfect. Hopefully we will tell our kids that when they are young! Aging as a parent has to do less with our numerical ages and more with our emotional health. Do we react or do we respond? Do we admit when we are wrong or do we play the blame game? Do we suppress our own emotions and deny our own weaknesses, or do we present ourselves as clueless and thankful grace-recipients on a journey to learn how to love well.
Blessings to you and your family! Thanks for reading some snapshots of my life as a parent who is learning as she goes.
Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Malachi 4:2 But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Lord, You are Jehovah-Rapha, God our Healer. Heal the minds and emotions of our children so that they can move forward into the next stages of their lives without hindrance. Comfort our aching hearts as we acknowledge our failures and mistakes over the years. Remind us of Your promise that healing, restoration and satisfying life come to those who humble themselves before You. We love You God and we are thankful for Your tender mercies.