Children expand our lives, but can also bring sorrow
Children are a gift of the Lord. The Bible says that a person is blessed whose quiver is full of them. Sometimes when children are growing up it does not seem that they are such a blessing. Early on there are the feedings in the middle of the night, and a person wonders if he or she will ever get a good nights sleep again. A babys diapers need changing. As the children get older they need attention and training; one has to set limits and teach children to respect others. When children get into school, one has to support their learning with help on homework and attendance at school functions. One has to purchase supplies and food that one would not have to purchase if children were not in the home. But what overshadows the costs, the inconveniences, and the fatigue are the ways in which children expand a persons life.
We just had our daughter visit from the West Coast of the United States. She is doing great in her career, and we heard all about that. She has matured in her perspectives and her ability to hold an opinion without that becoming a necessary conflict. We talked a bit about old times when all the kids were little still. Her presence filled our house. She played with our cats. Her interests in swimming at the various beaches in Bermuda got us into the water. Her gift for photography using her iPhone treated us to a new way of seeing familiar sights. Her thoughts on politics, the environment, religion, marriage, and difference itself were different than ours. When she left to return to her home, our place felt a bit empty.
Sometimes the way children add to a life is that they bring worry. When children are young parents worry that they will get sick. Parents get anxious that their children will do well in school. Parents worry that they will be able to pay for what is needed, and in Bermuda that often means huge costs for education. Parents fear that their children might not thrive socially, grow up to become successful, and live productive and happy lives with children of their own.
Sometimes the way children add to a life is that they bring grief and sadness. Some children are born with defects that guarantee they will struggle and suffer. Some children are bullied in school, and when your child suffers, you suffer. Some children, actually, do not thrive. They do not mature, but rather take a path toward self-indulgence. Some children become anti-social, and they take pleasure in hurting or using others. Some children afflict other children, and some children grow up to kill. These are losses.
When children go bad, it is not simply a disappointment. It is a source of pain. It is a reason to mourn. Children who go bad are a drain on a household. They do not simply steal from others; they diminish their own families.
When parents watch their grown children make bad choices, there is not much one can do about that. The days of parental training have come and gone. Some parents still take care of their childrens bad choices. They pay their bills and try to get them out of trouble, but it is just a matter of time before those children require such enabling again, and so there usually comes a point when the parents have to let them go to the consequences of their bad decisions. That never feels good.
So, imagine what its like for a family when one of the children decides to join a gang. Its like willingly signing up for a fatal disease. Parents have likely been worrying that such might happen. Parents may have been warning children against the dangers of hanging with known gang members. Its like telling your children that smoking cigarettes will shorten their lives. When they do it anyway, it makes a parent ache a bit.
It doesnt matter with which gang one associates; what is the ultimate difference between cancer and HIV if both kill you? What is the difference if both result in a crushing burden of guilt for having visited intense suffering on others? It doesnt matter which gang one hangs with, because any gang membership is a grief and a bloody sadness to ones parents.
In the family of the original parents Cain killed Abel, and he was banished. It was a double loss for his parents, who already had it rough just trying to make ends meet. Why did he kill his brother? It was for Cain a matter of respect. He was put off that his offering to God did not seem to be received with the same regard afforded to Abels. So, for such a relatively silly thing as the story he told himself about how much he was esteemed, he destroyed his brother, broke his bond with his family, brought grief to his parents, and spent the rest of his life in exile.
What a waste. What a tragedy.
Children are a gift in many respects. They usually expand the lives of their parents and make their lives more fulfilling. They do this in many ways, and some of those include the struggle and the challenge that children bring to their parents. Parenting can produce growth in people. It usually brings joy to see ones children grow up and succeed in life. It usually makes a person happy to play with his or her grandchildren (especially when one does not have the ultimate responsibility for parenting them).
I meet many people in my practice here in Bermuda whose children, or whose friends children, have been taken from them through gang violence. In those cases, the gift becomes sorrow, and it is a multiplying of grief. In Bermuda there are routine stories like that of Cain and Abel and there are many instances of the diminishing of Gods gift.
Butterfield wins May 24
MAY 24 MARATHON DERBY RESULTS
Tyler Butterfield wins 24 May Half Marathon
Hoey springs Derby surprise
Dominique dominates again
Sherlock and Swan turn back the clock
Summers here ... let the action begin
Cup results demonstrate crickets demise
Butterfield wins May 24
Contest makes clean sweep
Take Our Poll