Monday, November 18, 2013

More about Where's Momma?

It's a week later and I'm still thinking about kids and parenting.  That picture of the little boy hugging the Pope's legs and the Pope gently resting his hand on the child's head has stayed with me--it is beautiful.

Looking back, my post seems stern . . . I do love the tenderness it captures and I expect it to be among the 'pictures of the year' . . . but as the situation occurred, it awoke the 'parent' and the 'Child Development teacher' in me.  I want to expand the point I alluded to regarding parental authority--my 'serious thought' for today.

A child is seeing a new world.  He or she does not know how it works or what the dangers are, parents are there to provide the security while the child learns to operate within the existing reality. The greatest security a child can have is confidence in the parent's ability to navigate the turmoil of the 'big wild world'; the child's confidence rests in the parent's firm authority . . . they won't always like it, they will challenge it over and over, they will at times vehemently oppose it . . . but if that authority is fair, firm and not dependent upon their (the child's) reaction, it demonstrates to that child, "the person I rely upon is in control, they know what they are doing and I can count on that when I feel threatened."  Besides firmness, the other necessary element that allows the child to have faith in that authority and thus provide the security is, of course, love.  If the child feels the love--an unconditional love--the result will be respect.  Within the circle of: love + reasoned authority = respect + security, the child's free spirit blossoms.

That is my 'teacher' thought;  my 'parent' thought follows:


I was the central figure
       in my life as I lived it --

My hopes and dreams, fears and disappointments
       took center stage of all my concerns.

Family and friends, world events and God
       were the background against which my life played.

How--when the importance of figure was so central --
       could I imagine being satisfied as ground?

It didn't occur to me to consider
       God's willingness to be ground in our lives
       even when told of 'The Ground of Our Being';
                 How could I know?
                 How could I know?
       God showed me a pattern I couldn't see.

And life proceeded from my 'figure' position
       of yearning for inclusion
       and yearning for distinctiveness . . .
But yearning to become ground was not something I sought.

Then I became parent
       A tiny new being evolving to personhood,
       and I the ground to support the unfolding!
                 How could I know?
                 How could I know?

       How could I imagine being satisfied as ground
       Till I became ground for one more important than me?

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