Balancing unconditional love with conditional acceptance.
Here’s a look at this from a child’s perspective.
As a teenager I was given to bouts of brooding and self-pity. If you had cornered me, I would have reluctantly admitted that my taciturn, New Englander dad did love me. But all the way through high school, I truly did not believe that he approved of or was proud of me.
Then, I entered university and landed my first job working in the same department store as Dad. I recall my amazement when more than once a fellow worker would take me aside and tell me how proud Dad was of me, how he bragged about me all the time.
It took decades for me to build emotional bridges to my father. I think he may have tried to do the same for me, and in our last years before he died there was warmth to the relationship that I hope brought him comfort.
What I have only realized recently, after my children’s father died, is that I have no memory of snuggling on my father’s lap, of confiding in him, or consulting him for advice on matters that were significant. I think this must have grieved him. I know it deprived me of a gift my Heavenly Father wanted me to have…wants everyone of us to have. That is the assurance that I was enfolded by unconditional, unshakable love.
But I must hasten to add that my father did the best he could. I carry within my heart an undying gratitude to him for that.
How many well-meaning parents, focusing on the never-ending duties and puzzling uncertainties of raising ‘good kids,’ fail to convey to their children that they will love them – no matter what their children do?
How many find successful ways of delivering correction on a platform of unshakable affection? The ruler of our world system – the fairy tale stepmother – offers ideas and selfish strategies, mostly bent on control; God’s Word offers Heavenly, Kingdom wisdom. I think I’m beginning to get it, so to speak. And I’ll share some of this, next entry.
Meanwhile, your snippets of good sense are always welcome. Send them and I’ll share them with our readers.