Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Grief of Disrespect

To all parents who are suffering from the outbursts and threats of grown children, I would like to say that you have my heart felt sympathy. It must be bewildering, especially to those of you who really raised their children with good principles. Sometimes, as I have stated in previous posts, the young adult likes to make a big drama out of breaking off relations with his parents. He is testy for weeks and waits for the slightest infraction or error on the part of the parent. "That's it," he declares, "I'm cutting off fellowship." He then calls his parents hypocrites or "sanctimonious," and vows he will never eat with them again. He has a lot of Biblical terminology as his arsenal and he aims to wound his parents and come out looking like he is the wounded one and his parents are walking disorderly.

I've seen a couple of families totally devasted by these antics. There is a song that we sing called "Does Jesus Care," that comes to mind when I see a stricken parent, who can barely talk about the disrespectful words and demands of their grown children. It is called, "Does Jesus Care?" and the words are these:

Does Jesus care when my heart is grieved

Too deeply for mirth or song?

When my sad heart aches til it nearly breaks,

And the day grows weary and long?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief!

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Saviour cares.

I just wanted you to know that I can imagine having spent many hours with your child trying to pay attention to his character and develop his reasoning skills and teach him to be kind and loving, only to have friends, relatives, and other influences create resentment and bitterness in him when he is older. I know it must seem like building a nice house and finally getting to enjoy it only to see that the termites are eating away at its foundation.

These "kids" who are grown up are really frightened children. They don't know what they are doing. You must pray for them and realize that God made parents the parents for a reason. You might not have done everything right but God knows your heart and your intentions and he will complete the work that He has done. Please don't be absorbed too much in grief that it prevents you from functioning as a human being. If yout get too debilitated by it, you will be no good to anyone, and I'm sure if you are a conscientious mother, you have many things you need to do for your family. The outbursts of these grown children do not necessarily mean that you are condemned, although you may feel it.

I think a lot of grown children attack because of the guilt in their lives. In small ways they've compromised and they may have even talked about the parents to others. I really had my eyes opened when I saw a message board where grown children were asking lawyers how they could sue their parents for having a bad childhood. Now most of them couldn't even define a bad childhood, but because they resented the restrictions their parents had for them, and the teaching, they got their feelings hurt and were still angry at their parents. Some of the young lawyers were actually telling them that it was possible in some cases. I even knew a boy who divorced his parents and took on a new name.

Reading the previous post about respect, really had an impact on me. The fact that it was from a book written in the 1800's, made me gasp at how far away we really are from respecting parents. Even when I was a child, we did not take it too seriously. We respected them in order to stay out of trouble, but most children didn't understand the meaning and the depth of honoring parents.

I think of the Irish and the Italian cultures in the 19th century, who revered their parents so much that they wrote songs and poems about them. The early school books had stories about beloved mothers and fathers. The handwriting books had phrases to copy about loving their dear mothers and fathers and not disappointing them. The Irish sang songs like "Mother McCree" with phrases like, "I kissed the dear fingers so toil-worn for me!" The Italians sang many songs about mothers and fathers and even famous singers wept openly as they sang them.

Somewhere in time, the sentimental feelings towards parents, the kind of thing that touched the heart and made it weep, was lost. I do not know what happened to it. Children seemed to get a casual relationship with their parents and not feel a strong sense of their value. I can remember as a child sometimes having a bad dream that my parents died and I woke up crying....not because I would have been an orphan, but because I would have lost their love. I would not have had a mother and father and they meant more to me than anything.

I can think of many more songs about mothers but I won't list them all. The songs have changed to songs about things that scare you instead of warm your heart. I believe there are several things that pull the grown children away from their parents hearts:

the current rock music and lyrics of the day

the fashions for youth

the culture at work or college, and friends

the movies,

and even church youth groups.

During their upbringing, we wouldn't be responsible parents if we didn't warn them about danger. It would be irresponsible to put them in harm's way. I remember the first youth group I attended and it impacted me so badly that I decided I wouldn't ever introduce my children to a youth group. It would not have been responsible of me to say, "Well, I had to experience it and learn my lesson, so they should experience it and learn theirs," because I knew where it could lead. The same goes for the music and the movies. It would have not shown any sense on my part to send my children to the movies and let them wear the latest youth fashion. A responsible parent guards the children instead of exposing them.

If you are a parent and your grown child has just stomped out, I just want you to know that it is kind of like a disease these days. They all seem to be stomping out and grieving their parents with the heartless things they say.

One of the parts of the previous article impacted me greatly. I wish I had been educated in this at an early age, for I admit there were times I thought my parents were very strange. I always regretted the times I challenged them or spoke disrespectfully. Though I wised up later, it wasn't the sort of behaviour that set my feet up on a rock. Instead, it depressed me. YOung people are always depressed when they tear down their parents.

This is the phrase that impressed me a great deal. I had not thought that it is part of our responsiblity to build up our parents and protect their reputations, because even in teh 50's, it was quite common for kids to get together at a slumber party or at school and complain about how their parents didn't understand them or were restricting them on something.

Parents are not perfect people, but the Bible does command children, even grown children to honor their parents. The benefit is for the children. Sometimes children get the idea that it would be wrong to honor or show respect to their parents because the parent didn't earn it or deserve it, but the reason behind it is manifold.

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