Friday, April 13, 2012

How To Handle A Parent

Those of you who may be having a tough time with your parents, I have a bit of advice: Cut them some slack. I know you aren't happy right now; they've gotten after you for something or they always seem to be on your case but I want to explain something to you about them. It may not always seem it but they love you. It's just that being your parent is a heavy responsibility. They feel the entire weight of your future, of your education, of what you will become. They know the mistakes they have made and they are desperately trying to keep you from repeating them. Yes, you are your own person, different from them, but parents are not super beings, just human and you are a major focus in their life.

They want so much for you to get this right. They are honestly afraid that they haven't done a good job in the early years, like they messed up by forgetting to teach you important stuff, and now they are worried you are going to make the wrong decisions because of their mess ups. They have been the major influence in your life and now you are shifting away from them and relying more on your friends, which is a very scary thing for parents.

Maybe you can understand it if we looked at the relationship between a pastor and his congregation. His life is given for those people, in that he is there to serve them, to help with guidance and to train them to become mature Christians. He constantly prayers for them, is involved with them, is part of their lives in such major events as birth, marriage, and death. It is very hard for him when he sees other influences, negative influences pulling them away from the source of all things, Jesus, and leading them to destruction. We can see into the heart of a parent as we consider Paul's words to the Galatians:

 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! (Galatians 4:17-20)

Perplexed is a good word. There are a lot of perplexed pastors out there and a ton of perplexed parents. An experienced pastor can see all the danger signs and will do everything he can to allow God to be a stronger influence through him to keep his people from taking the wrong path. Parents often find themselves in this same position, trying to remain a strong influence in their child's life, hoping to prevent them from the wrong paths. Parents have the responsibility of training their children into mature adults.

There is no training school for parents. You can't earn a Masters degree in parenting. It is basically on the job training and good parents rely on God's guidance, allowing love to be the motivator in their actions and words. But this does not mean their hearts are not often times overwhelmed and perplexed, knowing what you have to face every day and knowing the major influences out there. They love you. They want to see you succeed in the same way that God desires our success as his children.

So if you can find the maturity to love them and forgive them despite you disagreeing with them, it would go a long way in a smooth relationship with your parents. They aren't perfect. They will make mistakes but the core of their motivation is their love for you. It may look like a strange love at times but often they just don't know how to put it in words. They are perplexed. Make things a bit better for yourself by trusting their love, listening to their advice and honouring them through obedience. It will remove their perplexity and bring some peace to the relationship. When the waters are calm you can respectively explain your perspective on the matter. You will be amazed how much they will be willing to listen. After all, they love you.

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