Saturday, May 11, 2013
I Get It
Through my parenting experience I have gained glimpses of the Character of God the Father. I hope to share them in these posts titled “I Get It”
These revelations have been both enlightening and humbling. I have seen Him in a more real way than ever before but I have also seen my own sin and need for Him reflected back at me.
When normally developed and nurtured children are small they learn to love and listen to their parent. They trust them and become reciprocal with affections. For children with attachment disorder it all looks and feels different. A normally developed child might pick flowers and give them to mommy expecting only her approval and rejoicing in her smile. Mommy is happy so the child feels accepted and is happy and will find joy in giving again. A child who is not attached might give their mommy flowers (or rocks as Middle used to do) and they were just imitating the behavior they had seen/learned in society. They then might have an expected response (mirroring the example they are following) and any other response, like an approving smile or a joyful hug might throw them off creating more mistrust leading to a fear and anger response (we call it rage) and then to chaos.
The first time this happens it might feel confusing to both child and parent. The child believes their gift will bring about an expected response (a smile and hug might not be enough or correct). When that doesn’t happen they might try to control the response by telling the parent what they were supposed to do or just informing them that they aren’t supposed to do…whatever they did. When they don’t get their expected response they are angry. After this happens a few times the parent begins to react. The gift doesn’t bring good feelings, it begins to trigger fear and anxiety. The parent knows where this is headed and doesn’t know the expected responses to prevent it.
How often do we do the same thing? We know what we want exactly and when we pray it’s not just to please God or find his approval, it is to control and get what we want.
As that attachment disordered child grows, assuming they don’t learn to trust and engage in reciprocal affection, they might continue giving gifts. That is what our society does. However their gifts might be more about them than about the giver.
Ebear gave great gifts as a teen. He sought to be the best gift giver. He would try so hard though that the gifts were uncomfortable and outrageous. He would expect us to be pleased because any less would be a rejection (set up?). He would live day after day with us and push us away, not talking to us or behaving as a member of our family and then on a holiday he wanted his gift to be the favorite. Works without love?
But don’t I do the same? Day after day passes and I don’t talk to my Father, I don’t open up or let him in. It’s not like he isn’t aware of my life. He can see it clearly, just as a parent who lives with a child can see clearly… but I go on about my business unconnected. Then when it’s a special day and society or the culture of the Church dictates that we stop and recognize Him, I do as expected. And don’t I want my offering to be the favored one? But He doesn’t want my vain offerings. The Father, wants a relationship with us. He wants our heart. As parents, created in His image, that is all we really desire from our children too. As parents of attachment challenged children we know that is the simplest and most frightening thing a child can give.