Some of you are going to hate what I’m going to say today. May I ask a favor? If you feel yourself pushing back, resisting, or trying to dis-associate with, argue against, or in any way diminish the essence of what I’m saying, would you please just become conscious of it when it happens? Just notice it and once you do, remember that healing is on the other side of it.
Parenting is not just the process of raising children. This series will attempt to raise your awareness to see that Parenting is the single largest portal through which we are able to see, reflected back to us in our children, either our ability or inability to know and practice love. I’ve entitled this series “The Power of Parenting.” because I’m convinced our world has so diminished the parenting experience that it has nearly lost sight of the scale of what it was intended to be. As a result, our world and emerging generations are beginning to display the disruption that a dis-integrated families brings to every strata of society. I hope parents will capture the missing prospective which has the power to point every relationship toward healing.
My daughter was telling me about how she was sitting in her car in a commercial parking lot and was watching a mother scream at the top of her lungs at her teenage son in the back seat. The barrage went on and on and on. How does a parent come to this? Why do children have so little respect for their parents? Why do children self-destruct and engage in risky, hurtful behaviors and pick really poor friends? How does an adult come to harm an innocent child physically, sexually, or emotionally? Why are families so jacked up? Why is a “normal” family such a dysfunctional mess? Why are healthy, well-adjusted, integrated, motivated, and optimistic children considered the “unusual” or “abnormal” situation?
It may not seem obvious now, but it comes down to love. A person who knows nothing about love, cannot give love to a child. Love is not an emotion. Confusion over this means that our entire life is ushered into the world, trained in the world and dispatched back to the world, in a form of love-bankruptcy. This is the soil from which modern families emerge. Education, opportunity and economics can contribute to success or failure of a family, but do not hold as much influence over the life of a person as how love is defined, displayed, and instilled.
Science has misled us. Since science cannot make a moral determination about anything, it has created a void from which our world has made tragic assumptions about our beginnings. Clinically, a sperm meets an ovum and that sums up procreation. In pathology, an aborted fetus is called a P.O.C or Product of Conception, and that is as far as science can take us. Some P.O.C’s end up in a container in the pathology department of the hospital, while others are allowed to continue on from the maternity ward department of the hospital. From a scientific perspective, there is no differentiating. In the case of family, science cannot lead us toward healing.
Deep down, we know there is more behind conception. Love-making is the design. When two people sacrificially give themselves to each other, forsaking all others, the product is not that of “conception” but love incarnated. This brings up an enormous watershed about how people are brought into the world.
Did we form in Ethos or Pathos? Science denies this reality even exists. What say you?
Was conception the result of two people taking from each other? Was it the result of violence? Did conception originate from lust or some other dis-integrated or broken aspect of human experience? Was there even true love between the two or was the union the magnetic pull of two damaged and dysfunctional minds or emotions? Was conception derived from desperation, loneliness and alcohol? Was there a commitment, a covenant, or a promise made between two people? Or is sacrificial commitment just passé and outdated? What brought our parents into the sexual congress which resulted in us? Ethos or Pathos? Does it even matter?
I think it does.
Once we arrived, what remained of the lovers and the so-called love between them? Was our arrival inconvenient, resented, less desired than a career, farmed out to those who don’t love us, or neglected or marginalized? Or were we cherished, valued, and incorporated into the larger love affair? Still think it doesn’t matter? If you could come back as a baby, which parents would you choose?
I know these questions are hard to hear, but we need to consider them in order to heal and stop the impulse to diminish such things and deny their reality or impact. The Hebrew scripture in Genesis gets at this in Abraham and Sarah’s story of parenting. Ishmael was the first born, not of the promise (non-physical reality/spiritual) to Sarah, but of the flesh (physical reality) from her maidservant. What about Jacob and Esau? Again, born in loving covenant (promise) or born first (flesh). What about Jacob’s twelve kids? Only the last two, Benjamin and Joseph were born of his love for Rachel. The rest were of the flesh and obligation from her cross-eyed, older sister, Leah.
You may be asking; “What can I possibly do about this now?” In one sense, you’re right, what is done is done. I don’t open this portal to bring pain or condemnation or humiliation. This is not a judgement against you, but a probe for self analysis. I do so to elevate conception and parenting back from the low-level observation of science. There is a thread that runs through us all and it begins before we arrive. We are all passengers on both Ethos and Pathos, Promise and Flesh. Before us lies both a question and a decision?
The questions is: “Did I come from Pathos or Ethos?” The answer is: both.
If you will concede that there is more to our story, then I have good news: You and your children are not an accident, a mistake, a sin, or a problem. You are the exact design and only a specific sperm with a specific ovum could bring you and your children about exactly as you are. This means you are not early, not late, not a surprise, and you are not random. YOU ARE THE EXACT DESIGN. If you reject the larger story as science must, then you are a product of conception, a crap shoot.
Random and Design are the two competing underlying philosophies of parenting and as I’ll prove in this series, they have a profound impact.
The question for parents is this: “What can be gained by considering the conception of my kids?” You may be thinking, “What good is this? Can I go back now?” Yes. In contemplation and prayer where time does not exist, in the present eternal moment of God, where all things are happening, you can honestly revisit your heart, your mindset, your actions in the light and you can repent, or “re-think, re-consider“, you can think again about this moment, this underlying philosophy. Would you do it differently? If so, let love enter that moment now. Ask for forgiveness and then forgive yourself, your partner, and set yourself free in that moment and it will bring a tiny ripple into today which will usher in the beginning of healing. Or you can ignore it. Deny it. Sweep it under the rug.
Healing starts with us. Mark this moment for it will come back to you. Heal the past within the present or it never heals at all. Parenting starts with a lens which allows us to see our lineage. Parenting is build on a philosophy and strategy. On a human plane we may have come from pathos, but on the eternal plane we all come from ethos, we are all born in love. Start there and learn the difference. Own this tiny bit of healing. If we embrace it, we will bring our children (no matter how much time has passed) into the Ethos of Love. If we avoid or deny our healing we will bring children into the Pathos of the flesh. It’s unavoidable.
May we each take a moment and find healing from our pathos, and embrace the power of love, for that is the power of a parent, and it’s the greatest power in the universe.