Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Twists and Turns of Parenting

Carrie and I recently read the article, "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy" by Lori Gottlieb (warning profane language in the article). This article suggests that involved, caring parents can often create kids who cannot cope with real life and end up in therapy. The author of the article (a therapist herself) observed time and time again that adult "kids" from "good homes" seemed to be struggling in life. She writes, "Here I was, seeing the flesh-and-blood results of the kind of parenting that my peers and I were trying to practice with our own kids, precisely so that they wouldn’t end up on a therapist’s couch one day. We were running ourselves ragged in a herculean effort to do right by our kids—yet what seemed like grown-up versions of them were sitting in our offices, saying they felt empty, confused, and anxious. Back in graduate school, the clinical focus had always been on how the lack of parental attunement affects the child. It never occurred to any of us to ask, what if the parents are tooattuned? What happens to those kids?"

This article came to me the same week I heard a Christian pastor lament that too many Christians are not helping their kids live by faith. These Christians (like me!) protect their kids at all costs from popular culture, secular schools, and heterodox beliefs. As a result, these kids live lives without needing God to get them through the day. Who needs God when Mom and Dad are around to keep the devil away? 

This article and the wise word of caution from my pastor friend have me asking, What does it mean to raise a kid who lives by faith in the Son of God? How do I help them learn not to merely cope with life, but to live with and by the power of Jesus? How do they handle the horrors of reality without abandoning the God of all creation who will one day redeem all of that fallen reality? How do I keep my kids from fighting against the world or running from it, but instead to love the culture-makers, to love their schools, teachers and classmates, and to love those with heterodox beliefs? Isn't love the most powerful force in the world? Isn't faith in God the key to the abundant life? O, God help this parent.

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