Yesterday, in-between watching CNN, I sat down and wrote a blog on building Parent/Child Connections: http://faithfullparenting.wordpress.com/ This was one of my responses to the unfolding drama in Boston. I know it is just one piece, the parenting piece, in the complex array of broken pieces in this tragic story.
Why did this happen? There is the emigrant story, the broken piece where the emigrant does not assimilate to the American culture and life. To understand this more Mary Pipher does an excellent job in her book: The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community
Then there is the broken piece of radical religion. How does loving God mean doing something like this? It does not. God is love and this is not love.
Perhaps another cultural broken piece is family loyalty trumping everything. An older brother influences a younger brother to join him in an atrocious act. We could find and name so many broken pieces.
It is important to work through these questions on the road to recovery. Along with this, in order to heal we need to choose our response. There is a lot of hard work ahead to do in order to heal. Will we become haters? If we choose that route we align ourselves with the same spirit that motivated the terrorists and they win. We become like them. Anger is a normal response to grief, but we can’t stay angry and let it poison our souls. We must move beyond it to the hard work of grieving, sadness, and the seemingly impossible process of forgiving. Hate, revenge, and bitterness are not the answers we need for healing. They never are. They will only destroy us and turn our hearts to stone.
Dear Boston choose the harder path of healing and recovery and you will find yourself surrounded by heaven ready to help. Our prayers are with you.
Categories: Boston, Faith, God, Life, Love, Paths, Prayer
Tags: Boston, emigrant, family, God, healing, love, Parenting, prayers, recovery
Recently I read a blog that took an excerpt from the book Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting by Scott Turansky, D.Min. and Joanne Miller, R.N., B.S.N. The passage compared running to disciplining children. The writers emphasize the primary goal of parenting to be teaching children to obey. This doesn’t sit right with me, even though at one time in my young parenting I might have agreed with them. They refer back to the Biblical 5th commandment of “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God will give you.” (Exodus 20:12) The Apostle Paul also writes “Children obey your parents”. He also speaks to fathers and says: “Do not exasperate your children.” I propose that when we make obedience our goal in raising children we can very easily exasperate them, and even wound them, which would lead to all sorts of trouble for these children as well as trouble in our relationship with them.
If we look to the founder of our faith, Jesus, whose example Christians are meant to follow, I believe the goal of our parenting is love. We are to teach and train our children to receive love and give love. Jesus emphasizes the two greatest commandments in which we are instructed to love God, others and ourselves. (Matthew 22:38-40) Jesus’ example in the gospels of receiving and blessing children, even rebuking his disciples when they harshly tried to keep them away from him, is the one I want to follow. He delighted in them, blessed them and affirmed them. He even honored them by teaching his disciples to become like them. Jesus also taught us that if we love him, we will obey him. So obedience flows from a heart full of love. When I know him and love him, of course I want to please him and do what he asks of me. I want to make his heart glad, put a smile on his face and make him proud of me.
As a Pastor, Healing Prayer Counselor and Parent Coach I have seen too many children and adults who have been wounded by this kind of harsh obedience orientated parenting, my own children included. (Thank God they have forgiven me!) Instead I propose that we let love be our goal. I am not saying this is easy or promoting a wishy-washy kind of permissive parenting where anything goes. I am promoting engaged, creative parenting where we are committed to disciple our children, rather than merely discipline them. As we teach and train with the long-term goal of raising loving children, they will become loving adults who respond to God’s love as well as love themselves and those around them.