Friday, May 20, 2016


So.. in my last blog we talked about talking.  I would like to expand on that a bit and talk about parental apologies. I'm not talking about telling your kids that you're sorry for being less than you think you should be or to apologize for being human.  I'm not talking about apologizing because you cannot afford to buy them $250 sneakers or a new car when they graduate.  NEVER apologize if you are doing your best. 

No one is a perfect parent. 
But every parent makes mistakes. I am talking about parents who think it is the unpardonable sin to admit to making a parental mistake. WHY? WHY? WHY?

When a child becomes a teenager and older.. they often begin to vent about the mistakes their parents have made.  Sometimes they are just being brats... but.. sometimes... in all HONESTY...the kid has a point.  

I AM A COWARD and when parents lament to me about THE NERVE THEIR KID say such things.. I just NOD MY HEAD... and say nothing.  Because... although I am no where near a professional counselor.. I have had people speak to me in my role as a public ministry person... (Whatever that is..)... and I have discovered that one of the most DIFFICULT situations to talk to another parent about is their child.. or they way they are raising that child. It's like exploding a nuclear bomb. So I have learned my lesson.. and usually just NOD... 

WHAT I REALLY WANT TO SAY is "I can totally see your kid's point. And they are actually being very accurate in their assessment. You did what they said you did... and the only way to keep your child's love and respect is to humbly admit it.. AND ASK FOR FORGIVENESS."   In reality... REAL HEALING WILL COME.. between that parent and that child.  

What I have observed MOST parents who will not admit they've made a mistake, and therefore they are never open enough to admit it to their kid. This lack of acknowledging that maybe.. yes.. you were an angry person most of the time...... or maybe... yes.. you DO favor their sibling.. or maybe.. yes... you are very selfish and self-centered.. or maybe.. yes.. you do have a problem with being materialistic... or maybe.. yes.. you were too career focused.... or maybe you ARE too concerned with looking good to people....or maybe you did confuse them about being a Christian because you said you were one, but nothing about your actual life supported that... and on and on and on.  

So the parent just smugly refuses to see that they were not perfect.  Who is?  And they refuse to see that in their human lack of perfection they had an attitude.. or they did something.. that HURT THEIR CHILD.  

Because that's the bottom line.  A person has been hurt. God wants to bring healing to that person. And to you.  God is all about healing and restoring and in His Kingdom that always starts with someone acknowledging being in need of being forgiven.  As in.. you and me. 

Maybe the kid isn't being a whiny, brat... MAYBE??? Would you absolutely die a death if you devoted 93 seconds to run that question through your brain? Your heart? Your spirit?  Could you stop before slamming them down - creating an deeper and wider chasm between the two of you - and THINK if MAYBE there is SOME TRUTH THERE?

 I remember hearing a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley many decades ago. It changed my thinking.  The title was "How To Handle Criticism" and his first point was "Acknowledge to yourself that there IS some truth in EVERY criticism."  He went on to say that the person accusing you of something most certainly has an agenda, and most certainly may be MAGNIFYING the flaw.. but... he suggested that before you start defending yourself.. just step back and ask yourself, "Is there any small grain of truth in this criticism?" 

I am suggesting... suggesting.. that maybe if you would LISTEN to your child's complaint against you... and bring it to the Lord.. and ask The Holy Spirit whether or not this is something that you have unknowingly done.. and IF so.. 

THEN SAY SO to your child.   Even if the kid is seven years old and tells you that you embarrassed him in front of Aunt Marcia and Uncle Bill by making him play his clarinet.  STOP.  THINK BEFORE you defend yourself.  Did you?  Is there ANY truth from the child's perspective?
So then say, "You know what?  I can see your point.  I understand that I embarrassed you.  I am just so proud of the way you play and I wanted them to hear your.  BUT WILL YOU FORGIVE ME FOR DOING THAT? I AM SORRY to embarrass you."

YOU WILL NOT DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS. You will have gained your child's respect.

I am a big fan of DECLARATIONS.  I have seen it change the course of a family when a father says something like, "I have an announcement! I want to admit that I was not the spiritual leader in our home when you were growing up.  I would like to ask you to forgive me for that.  FROM THIS DAY ON.. I WILL DEVOTE MYSELF TO BEING WHAT I SHOULD BE."  
AND guess what?  The father GAINS respect from his children.  The pride that keeps him from admitting his mistake doesn't gain a thing.. except a child who doesn't understand what it means to have a transparent relationship. 

My parents were never afraid to admit to a mistake and then ASK FOR FORGIVENESS..   The longer I am living without them... the more I understand what INCREDIBLY humble and loving parents they were. WERE THEY FIRM? Yes, like Gestapo prison guards. 
WERE THEY LOVING? Yes, like people full of God's love.
DID I RESPECT THEM?  Beyond measure.

IF you did it, admit it... and move on to healing.

NEXT BLOG.. "Parents Who Refuse To Forgive Their Children"

Mrs. Older
P.S. I am writing again on a regular basis.  So encourage your mommy and daddy friends to sign up to receive this. Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment