Monday, June 20, 2016

The Perfect Lie

Almost a year and a half ago, we lost our two-year-old granddaughter in a tragic accident. (More here) I was astonished and appalled at the vehement accusations that flew toward her mom and stepdad! How could anyone be so cruel in the midst of such tragedy?

This was all brought back in the past month or so, as the parents of a 4-year-old who fell into a gorilla's enclosure and the parents of a 2-year-old who was snatched by an alligator were all lambasted publicly in their grief. Where were they, after all, when their child had such a horrific accident?

Because, of course, we parents are expected to protect our children in every situation, right?! 

That's the lie. The perfect lie. 

We are, indeed, supposed to protect our children. To provide for them. To meet their needs. But we are not supposed to make the world perfect for them. This is not a Biblical belief in any way! The Bible clearly says that we will have trouble in this world (John 16:33, Job 14:1). So we need to prepare them to meet the trouble with faith; that is our charge as Christian parents!

If we are busy trying to make life perfect for our children, or for ourselves, we are missing the boat entirely! I am not a perfect mom... and when I sin in anger toward my daughter, she knows that I ask for God's grace and for her forgiveness. When she sins, we help her ask for God's grace and for the forgiveness of the one she offended against. This is what Jesus tells us is necessary for our Salvation, not perfection!

Our society has expectations of perfection, especially in parenting. We're supposed to provide exactly the right experiences, lessons, and vacations to produce the perfect children. If a parent decides their 12-year-old is old enough to stay in the car while they work out, someone will report her and the parent will be charged with neglect. This is nonsensical! It's a lie. Life is not perfect. Parents are not perfect. 

Our job as parents is to "train up our children in the way [they] should go"(Proverbs 22:6),  to teach them how to live as Christians. And Christians aren't supposed to expect perfection from this life, we are supposed to anticipate the perfection of eternal life with Christ (Philippians 3:20).

So, step away from the Perfect Lie. Have grace and support for parents who experience tragedy, not condemnation and accusation. Stop trying to make your child's life perfect. Begin to help your child(ren) to cope with this life's imperfections faithfully, in God's grace. We are not of this world (John 15:19).