When we require our children to be what we need,
we miss the gift of who they are.
We all stumble into parenting with dreams and expectations for our children. But do we wish them for them or do we want our children to achieve them in order to meet our needs; to mask our wounds and fulfill our dreams? Or at least make us feel adequate and look good enough.
Some dreams and expectations go unchallenged; many do not. When they’re exposed, life can implode on us. Beneath the smiles and masks we wear lie wounds; wounds that long to be acknowledged, validated and healed; wounds we hide from ourselves and others when they scream for attention.
Adoptive parenthood speeds up the “authentication” process. Either we deal with our wounds and parent from our healing or we become angry, bitter, and critical. It’s hard to admit we’re a mess, a fraud; that our finely crafted masks are simply a pretense to cover our fear. But the moment we do, healing begins.
It’s our choice.
Many of us naively assume we’re the teachers, the instructors, the wise professors to our children. But I think it’s more likely that God will use broken children to expose broken parents. In His gracious, upside-down wisdom He allows the compromised beginnings of our children, our wounds, and the ineffectiveness of our tools, to reveal our need…our desperate need for Him. And, by His grace and forgiveness we heal…or at least get better.
But it’s painful and unpredictable.
We bring personal wounds into our parenting. And these often become the silent demands we require of our children:
But it’s not our children’s job to make us whole. It’s our job to help them heal.
When we admit our brokenness and allow God to heal us, we release our children from this unspoken obligation and become free to receive the gift of who they are.
Thank you, Father, that our children are a gift from you. All of them. Help me to see your goodness and your gift in each of my children today.