Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Fire Gold is Tested

One day last week on my walk across town to catch the commuter rail, I came across a group waiting in a long line outside of some barroom to see a band.  A hundred or so of them dressed like folks that take your breath away when you see them coming the other way, and you wonder what sad predicament happened to their mother.

This one caught my attention because of the pentagram on her purse.  I did not notice the irony of the two crows tattooed on her back poised to peck at her brains until I looked at the pictures when I got home.:

These two females had some kind of writing tattooed on the side of their head where they shaved their beautiful hair.  The sweet-looking blonde has a spider on her arm:

This was a group I thought was a little long in the tooth to still be caught up in the cyclone:

Assuming it's an adult band, wouldn't you think when they look out into their audience and be aghast at the life of consequences they are grooming in their following?

Other than aspiring to work at Newbury Comics, where are you leading them for their future?

What kind of people are you setting up to be attracted to them?

At best, the ridicule eats away at a person's self-esteem.  At worst, all kinds of messed up people are going to try to take advantage of them.

How do you not feel some kind of responsibility when you know that some of these kids are going to walk into experiences that are going to impact them negatively for the rest of their lives?

Other than a few crazy hairdoos in the 70s and 80s, I don't think we've experienced this kind of a culture warp since the 60s.  There were some really crazy get ups, but I don't remember anything that couldn't be reversed with a good hairdresser and putting a small load of clothes into the trash bin when Charlie Manson took the culture to it's end.

Like the 60s are all kinds of choices about the kind of love we give to our children, family, friends and the world at large that seem to be getting all jumbled up.

Seems like  the common denominator between the 60s and this generation is the cultural cheapening of eros. A generation robbed of the differences between eros and filial love can never experience the fullness and intensity of neither.   Agape is devoured in the distribution of emotions that are self-centered.

A culture of choice framed on our own needs and desires without the process of contemplating how those choices impact the people around you and your relationship with God always results on chaos.

Parenting is a delicate walk where wisdom is sometimes gained with the experience of our errors.   The vigilance it takes, the self-sacrifice, the willingness to lay down our lives for the sake of the children God has placed into our custody is a bigger job than anyone could ever anticipate at the starting gate.   The older the children get, the more complex, intellectual, spiritual the job of  parenting becomes.

Children don't realize that our appearance is an enormous factor on how we earn respect.  From respect, our self-esteem is anchored.  A child whose self-respect is challenged by rejection from adults and peers because of the way they look is an at-risk child.   Adults have the responsibility to rescue at-risk children - to advise them and guide them out of the holes they get themselves into.

As my children aged and said dumb things like they're 18 now, I'd respond by saying "So then  if I were to go downtown in a crumpled dirty low-cut dress that just barely covered my underpants, with my hair a mess and goth makeup on at the ripe old age of 50, this situation should not be open to feedback from you, right?  

To wit, my point was always made.

A family is a unit where what we do impacts all of us, where we watch out for each others backs, where the kind of love exists between us that we are willing to consider everyone around us before we do something something wild and stupid because we feel like it or want to.

This is the foundation of every successful relationship they will ever have with people and with God.

To this parent, if you don't give your children the broader concept of agape, self-sacrificing love, I don't see how they will ever understand how relationships joyfully function in filial and erotic love.    Without this basic understanding, they will always see the people around them as bitter and controlling killjoys.  This ultimately is how they perceive God and they will be engaged in battles all their lives.    Friends and the people who love them will be foes.

A savvy parent learns how to tailor and package information to the unique personality of each of their children to mitigate rejection of the wisdom.  But the reality is, the role of a parent often intersects at the beams of the cross.  


Faith said...

"So then if I were to go downtown in a crumpled dirty low-cut dress that just barely covered my underpants, with my hair a mess and goth makeup on at the ripe old age of 50, this situation should not be open to feedback from you, right?I\
I always threatened to walk down the highschool corridors, yelling "yoo hoo ______" while wearing a leopard leotard.

Carol McKinley said...

Amen to that sister!

To wit you'd respond:

"You can't tell me what to do, I'm 50"

Translation: I don't really give a rat's pattoot about how my behavior impacts you or other people in my family.

Parents who buy into the notion that the age of 18 is where families stop open communication on how their conduct impacts them or their family are drinking the koolaid!

Good luck to them.

As for me and my house, we continue learning how to give and receive self-sacrificing love.

Anonymous said...

I learned a lot about children like this when I spent 2 years mentoring at the local public HS. It stretched me in ways I never knew I could go.

They were lost souls with no parental direction. All they wanted to do was survive. The school let me pretty much do what I I did some discreet weaving in of faith and I grew to love them.

I really got the message of how different things were for their generation one day as I hid under a library table when the school was on a lock down. It was my third one.

Afterwards one of the boys came over to me and said," Mrs. C, do you think I should even TRY to go to college? I mean like I'm probably not gonna live to see graduation."

First thing I did when I got home was PRAY..then I cried...then called my sons to tell them how much I love them.

Lord help us to treasure our children and our families....


Charlene said...

What an incredibly powerful post. Thank you.

Charlene said...

What an incredibly powerful post. Thank you.