Saturday, November 06, 2010
You often get from a relationship, what you put into it.
You hear older people complain that their children do not call them often or visit them regularly, yet you are likely to hear the same from the adult children regarding their parents. The parents never bother to call the children either. There are grandparents that are too busy to spend time or telephone their grandchildren only later to complain to friends that they have no relationship with the grandchildren. As adults, its our job to reach out to the child !
Grandparents moving away from family to spend time in the sun or at some adult community where children seem to be viewed as a nuisance that you are trying to avoid, only being allowed for a couple days and in small numbers ! Then, later down the line, these folks end up being cared for by strangers instead of family when they are in need of help. Lonely hours because of the choices made to live self centered lives.
As parents, we often end up with relationships with our children, just what we put into them. Most of us are familiar with Harry Chapin's song "Cats in the Cradle". It pretty much says it all.
I have said many times that parenting doesn't come with do-overs. But we can apologize for the mistakes made. Humility mixed with sincerity is a powerful mender of broken seams. When my children were growing up, we had so many people telling us that we were doing this or that wrong, always in regard to how we spent all our time and energy on them. Homeschooling was going to stunt their social development, and why didn't I get a job so we could have more "things", but we stood firm, even though family pushed us to see things their way. We were not perfect parents but we did things the way we felt were right and it has turned out pretty good. Our children are loving, we have good relationships with them.
And just like us, they are not perfect, but they are pretty close to it in our eyes.
Not too long ago I had a conversation with a woman in my town that has a little dog, and she spends a lot of time and energy on that dog, has it groomed weekly, fixes it special food, dresses it up in clothes, has an actual baby bed for it and calls it her baby and referrers to herself as its mommy. I am a dog lover but would not consider an animal my child, it isn't. And yes, she is lonely and this dog is a good companion for her but more than that, the dog is a substitute in a way for the children she raised and has little or no relationship with. She admits she was a mess when her children were small. She knows that and has acknowledged it to me. But, instead of making things better with her daughter and son, she just turns all her attention to her dog, and no, she does not get the same sort of enjoyment from her dog as she would her children and grandchildren. That is a fact. She has told me many times that the dog doesn't tell her to her face in words what she is doing wrong. The dog, just runs off when she gets too clingy with it. The dog doesn't relate to her personal baggage, so the relationship with the dog is easier than dealing with her children, but she is still lonely for her children. As she is aging, she knows the dog is not going to check on her when she can no longer care for herself and her dog will not sit by her side and pray with her or fix her meals.
The point, you get out of a relationship what you put into it and building strong ties with our children, generation working side by side with one another is so worth it.
The father of the prodigal son, didn't lecture his son on his return, nor did he try to hash out all the things that went wrong, he just opened his heart and his arms to his son and restored him to the place where he had gone from. It was the fathers love that made all the difference. Mend those broken down fences with your children, and if you have small children, give them your time, and your heart so that when you grow older, you will find abundant joy in your relationships with them and they will have learned the value of time spent with loved ones.
I sit here counting my blessings, one by one and they each have a name.
It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...