One of my favorite pictures of my hubby and sons was taken in the middle of a silly moment. They were all watching something on the laptop, huddled together on the couch. I was warmed by the ease and comfort they felt just being together. They were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. No pretense, just acceptance and genuine love for one another.
So I grabbed my phone to take a picture, to capture the moment. Without a second thought, they each looked at me and stuck out their tongues. No coordinated effort, just sheer silliness and response. It’s one picture I will always love because of all that it captured that day.
Sure, the picture I took of my hubby and sons isn’t proper by Emily Post’s etiquette, but it is perfect for showing a precious, priceless moment of full love and joy in my family. That is what matters most to me.
My hubby and I agreed to make sure our sons would know they were accepted, loved, and welcomed- no matter the time or situation. That our sons would know they were more important than the screen in front of us. The book I might be reading or the tasks we might be doing. They were a priority. They had value.
I’ve watched parents over the years waste so much energy and time trying to force their children into being or behaving in a certain way. That somehow the children’s actions were going to cause trouble in society or maybe cause the light to shine too brightly on the parent(s) and their parenting skills would be a disappointment.
My family knew how to behave in polite society; please, thank you, etc are common practice when needed. Yet we didn’t want to make conformity the priority, when knowing and being known by our closest family was most important.
I have seen parents break bridges with their children (adults and minors) because the child didn’t meet a predetermined idea of acceptable. Damage that caused years of unnecessary pain – on both sides- all because one person wasn’t going to keep dancing to the same old tune.
I understand better and better why Jesus scolded the disciples in Mark 10:13-16. The kids came with their parents for a blessing. I can see them climbing around, squealing and laughing; just being kids. Now maybe the disciples were tired, who knows. But they were annoyed and tried to turn away the kids from Jesus. In a culture that didn’t value the kids as much more than a continuation of the family name, Jesus said they were important.
“When Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it, ” (Mark 10:14-15 HCSB).
It was the exuberance, hearts open and full of joy, taking it all in and accepting it as it was, that’s what was missing from the disciples that day. That’s what I see missing in the actions of parents today.
It breaks my heart and I have to believe that it breaks God’s heart too.
Best Beloved, don’t miss out on sharing joy with your children (adult or minor) because they are not conforming to some notion of acceptable and unacceptable. Don’t miss out – our kids will reach a point where our relationship is not as important as the one where they are taken in as they are, who they are, where they are.
Mend the bridges, make the phone call, write the letter. Knock on the door. Don’t let another day go by.