Friday, December 01, 2006

Parenting and selfhood

Found a couple inspiring things related to parenting this week.

First, from yesterday's Dear Abby about step-parenting:

DEAR ABBY: Please tell "Ashamed in the South" that many stepparents feel bad for not immediately loving their new offspring. A wonderful family psychologist gave me some advice that has helped enormously: "Think of love as an action instead of an emotion." Thereafter, I acted as if I loved my stepchild, and over the years the habit of action grew into emotion. She's long since grown, but we're good friends, and my husband often teases me about the time we spend on the phone. -- NOT-SO-WICKED STEPMOM IN OREGON

It reminds me of a passage in Matthew, which I just read the other day as part of a Gospel read-through my church is sponsoring:

A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first.

Actions do speak louder than words. You may think you're bad in your thoughts, but you get spiritual credit for the good you do despite your thoughts. A bad thing may occur to you to do, but you refrain from doing it. This makes you good, not bad. I like the simplicity of that.

Second, some profound comments about self from Beyond Teshuva:

Parents say you cannot expect that much from today’s kids, … today you have to make more compromises, make it easier on the kids, because their selves are far more fragile. And it’s true that their selves are more fragile. But why are they more fragile? Because we are teaching them about a “self” that is not real. We are teaching our children to embrace a shallow, superficial, and skin-deep sense of self. The time has come when G-d is asking us to put the finishing touches on His “dwelling,” and the reason our selves are so fragile is because we are supposed to get rid of them. We are supposed to have G-dly souls, not egotistical selves. Our egos are so fragile because we are not supposed to have egos anymore. …

In the sixties and seventies, everyone became concerned about finding themselves, and today people are still trying to find themselves. … However, no one is succeeding in finding anything worthwhile, because there is nothing to find. They are looking for something that does not exist. The real self is G-d. That is your real self, who and what you are -- a part of G-d. There is nothing else to find, nothing else to look for.

This really resonated with me. "Finding myself" is not the goal. Losing self and finding Spirit is the goal. This somehow connected with what I learned about the will recently. I get in my own way with a sense of selfhood that doesn't truly exist. If I have the humility to understand that my only selfhood is Spirit, I am freed to fulfill all that Spirit wills for me. And, am I teaching that to my children?

I'll be chewing over these thoughts for a while. Hope you have a great weekend!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 12/01/2006 09:28:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Dear Laura...wonderful....just what I needed this morning..thanks my dear friend...Kate


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