I don’t know how many times I sat down with my children to have a serious conversation about some matter of discipline, or to gently correct some dangerous behaviour, only to have my parents recall a time when I, too, made the same youthful mistake.
It has led to some very interesting conversations. These were conversations enriched by the enforced honesty of the discussion. My children had to go to an adult and apologize for rudeness or perhaps breaking something, just as I had to go and apologize for stealing a chocolate bar when I was five. My children’s grandparents helped frame the discussion in terms of belonging to the community. In having this conversation with my children I was not imposing a punishment. I was inviting them into full participation in the community.
Like their father before them, my children were being invited to participate in the life of the community, not punished or expelled. A talk with old friends and grandparents keeps parental love intact. Parental love keeps confusion at bay. God’s love keeps the community intact.
Loving God, keep us honest so that we are able to hear your message of love in the moments when our actions and our hopes confuse us. Amen. — RDL