Monday, June 25, 2012
Facebook status by Toby D. Sanders
Parenting is largely, even primarily about failure. All parents fail in some very important way or ways. The successful parent fails (repeatedly) in a way that brings into bold relief the gifts and talents of their children and themselves. It is like the process by which humans learn to walk..."a falling forward." What I am saying here is true and important and comes from a painful place of realization. Children, human beings are not things, they cannot be perfectly shaped like a piece of wood or stone or programmed like a computer. In fact the dynamism of the human personality and psyche (soul) is so oppositional that we learn largely and mostly by error and failing, by making mistakes and that even our successes if they are real successes are "failed repetitions", works of art in a sense in our own voices and unique, different from whatever model that inspired them. We need to think about this as we experience the way our children, in spite of our warnings and cajoling and best efforts often repeat our mistakes and pains and failings. But, when we "succeed" as parents they fail in new ways, in ways that create their own personalities and the opportunities that arise from their courage and creativity.
This realization is important because it helps us help our children thrive in very difficult (real life) circumstances. It shields us from defensiveness with others, like teachers and other parental partners. This realization helps us separate and differentiate our failings from our children's failings in a way that gives our children their own lives. It helps them survive the weight and terror of some of our shadows (that is, our corrupted expectations for them which are really forms of our own frustrations with our own lives. No I am not saying we are too hard on our children. I am not saying this at ALL! In fact I think it is easy to parrot "high expectations" and other slogans about "putting the kids first" and, "the children are our future", "our reason for living and being," blah, blah, blah ad nauseum. These type of false psychic burdensome platitudes actually work to make us hate our children to deeply resent them and criticize the very selfishness in them that this crap inculcates.
We can only grow by failing creatively and courageously, not fearlessly but in the face of fear. Hate is driven by fear of failure and fear of not measuring up to an impossibly perfect standard. If we recognize the vital importance of "failure" in parenting we would be better off in so many deep and abiding ways. We would love our children in the way that God over us, that is, love us enough to free us totally. For love is a choice, virtue is a choice, art is a choice, hope is a choice...becoming is a choice and love animates every aspect of life. Love endures all things. We can only grow by failing creatively and courageously, not fearlessly but in the face of fear. Hate is driven by fear of failure and fear of not measuring up to an impossibly perfect standard...