We were wrapping up a family vacation with popcorn and a movie. Our three-year old was enthralled in every vivid-coloured car that sped across the screen.
“Well, that was a good movie,” Papa nodded with a smile.
“Papa!! ….It’s not good….. It’s GREAT!!!”
Eli’s dramatic reply and expressive hand actions had us laughing right out loud. He still won’t let us forgot how amazing that film was to him!
Whether raising teens or tots, the struggles are paralleled, if we’re willing to be honest. Seasons of conflict, disobedience, or defiance, stretch the elastic of our patience thin. We question. We blame. We vent. We defend. Walls go up, ear doors are slammed shut.
Do we love our kids? Yes! Do we like them? Not always
I read recently that 90% of the intense conflicts between spouses, are not about today. It’s about our past. The pains and wounds that we carry around with us.
Only 10% to blame, is the person you share the sheets with, and the face you see in the mirror. A bit of a bummer, if you’re looking for a scapegoat! Sorry about that!
Researchers who discovered this, call it Imago Therapy. It’s an interesting read to add to your booklist, if you want to learn more. (Making Marriage Simple)
It led me to wonder… what about our kids? What are their triggers and hot buttons? What explains their 90% when conflict arises?
Parenting can feel like a pressure cooker! We’ve all seen the wide and far reaching effects upon adults, from brokenness in childhood. I’ve walked with adults brave enough to face the demons from their past. It’s not an easy road. I deeply admire them.
Do you ever worry that you’ll be the one responsible for a messed up adult? Me too. I think our natural inclination as parents is to protect our kids from present and future pain as much as possible.
We suppress the bad, exalt the good, and hide what is broken. We teach them to be strong, but maybe what they need, is to learn it’s okay to be weak. We encourage them to push on and rise above, but maybe they need to feel the sting of disappointment, and walk through grief. We model how to hold it all together, but maybe what they need most, is to see us fall apart, and discover that Grace really does catch us.
I didn’t know how to deal with my anger until I was 23 years old. I threw rocks off the top of a cliff and yelled as if God was deaf. Sounds simple, but it changed me. I felt free.
I learned that the broken parts of my story, where the anger and shame and pain resided, were the very pieces that God would later heal and put on display for His glory. I didn’t have to fear anger any longer. Thankfully our brokenness doesn’t equate to failure with God.
We will all raise broken sons and daughters, because we ourselves are broken.
Parenting on Purpose is a tight rope walk of sheer faith. It’s choosing to face our palms to the sky each sunrise, and release the gifts we’ve been given. It’s daunting and terrifying at times, especially when the future is uncertain. I often raise shaking hands to heaven and swallow hard, “Let this season of broken, be made into beauty.”
Those simple words of our son, seem to echo back with God’s eternal perspective on parenting. He sees the beauty emerging from what’s broken, and to Him…. it’s not good, it’s great!