Abductive Columns

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Straight From the Heart and Homefront

My wife came from an upper middle class family. I came from a broken lower-middle class family raised by a mother who did the best she could with limited resources.

We met in college and married; had three children. My wife gave extravagantly, to our children, both in love and materially. If she thought I would disapprove of her excessive giving (the material) she kept it a secret. Guess what? This is exactly the way her mother parented. As a young father I criticized and complained-- exactly like my mother. I told myself that I would never divorce. (My parents divorced while I was a teen.) Every night you would find me at home yet often I was absent—like my father. As we parented we didn't recognize these things. It was later, after the children had grown—when we were much wiser.

Subtle and insipid, this un-willful sinning slowly does its work as it affects (undetected) the next generation of young adults who bring another generation into the world. Now in our 50s we’re convinced that we fool ourselves into believing that we can attend a few Christian seminars on parenting and become good Christian parents. These seminars are useful and good but rarely, if ever, do they break the cycle. Prayer is powerful and every parent needs to be on his/her knees but to believe that a single prayer prayed in belief breaks the cycle is Pollyanna. It’s both unfortunate and true that most young parents don't see these sinful patterns while actively parenting; quite the opposite; most are blind to them and think they are doing just fine. I thank God everyday for his grace and our children’s resilience and ability to do well in spite of our blind ways!


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