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Parents are People Too

I sometimes wonder if people, when they grow up, forget how it was to be a kid.  It is true that from the adult perspective, children’s problems can seem very small comparatively, but that is looking at the problem from the wrong angle.  When your world is small, the problems are big.  Someone stealing your seat at lunch, calling you stupid in front of the whole class, or making fun of your clothes is taking a big bite out of your security.  I can vividly remember these all-consuming things and how they tore me up inside.

I was an overweight kid and, as far as I can remember, I was picked on and called some pretty unflattering names my entire school career.  It is true that I had a lot of really good friends, so I was not a social outcast, but I every time I remember those years, I think of the nasty, hurtful comments I endured–maybe not every day, but most days.  I am 50-years-old now, and have finally come to accept myself as I am, and that is all because of Jesus.  So I understand how my mole-hill can be a kid’s mountain.

Now for the flip-side: parents are people too!  I realized recently that I almost never, even now, considered my parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) from any viewpoint other than from the child/adult perspective.  I see them only through the lens of our relationship.  This is sometimes good, sometimes not.  My mother was a good mother, and I loved her unconditionally.  My father is a good father in some ways and not so good in others.  My mom had failings that I “forget” about, whereas I am more cognizant of my father’s, mostly because he and my mother divorced when I was about 17, and because he left the house to us, it seems more like he left all of us.

I never thought about them as just people.  Being someone’s mother or father does not make you less of an individual, with all of the passions, hopes, dreams, and problems of any other person, even if that person is your child.  So perhaps children have forgotten, or more likely never considered, their parents as just people too.

People–all people–are fallible.  Parents don’t have life completely figured out; sometimes they are winging it, just like their kids.  Parents make mistakes.  Parents sometimes make hasty and unfair decisions.  Sometimes parents want to go in their room, shut the door, and listen to music, too.  Parents want so badly to do everything right with their kids, but sometimes they blow it.  And if you, their kid, are disappointed with them when they do, think how much more that hurts.  Parents have feelings that can be hurt, too.

I think we all could give a little more grace, especially to those who love us and those we love.  So when Mom and Dad blow it (again), maybe take a moment to think of how you would want to be treated when that happens to you, and offer a little grace.  We all can use more grace, that is for sure.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

How do you view your parents? Can you see them as people in their own right? How can you show grace to your mother or father today?

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