“If You Loved Me, You’d Let Me!” Chapter 7.2

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Well, I found my book. That makes it easier to blog. Let me explain. My house is for sale (I may do a separate entry later on just that topic) and so we try to keep the house clean. In the first eight days we have had nine showings with one scheduled for tomorrow. That’s good news….but keeping up with bills, homework, and books that you are blogging on while trying to keep the house “staged” is a fun challenge.

Apparently I must have thought the challenge was too easy because I attempted to move offices at work as well. The key is to sort and integrate as you go! You can see how well that has been going in this snapshot with about 75% of the move completed.

I will post on chapter 8 tomorrow. I have a post or two I would still like to do on chapter 7.

One of the great insights of this 7th chapter is that of the confusion that parents and youth have in the adolescent years as they try to understand the giving, expressing and receiving of love. Both kids and parents tend to look at the ways that love worked for them in childhood.

Parental love (as it was expressed in childhood) used to satisfy…now it does not. This is confusing, frustrating and the cause of no small amount of anxiety. What happens when comforting, “fixing/making it better,” anticipating, planning are no longer enough? What happens when the needs of identity, autonomy and belonging…for personal expression, identification, decision-making, and the exercise of the will are added to the young person’s life…..and therefore to the dynamic of the relationship?

And if we dare admit it to ourselves, what happens when the needs for love that our child used to meet in us are no longer satisfied as neatly….or perhaps at all?

As Peterson points out, Christian parents are at a distinct advantage in wrestling with this question. As the expression of childhood affection and friendship disappear, and as society pushes our child toward eros in all things, we understand and are called to the very love that an adolescent needs. It is the love that a mature adult can provide. That love is agape. Peterson writes:

Without it (agape) love between a parent and an adolescent becomes either desiccated and dry, there being no healthy growth to feed maturity, or bitter and resentful, as expectations are continually disappointed. (Agape) sees the nature of the other person and acts freely to do those things which suit that nature. It is not first of all a feeling, or an experience, or a need, but a decision. It wills the fulfillment of the other. It is the love that is demonstrated by God for His people. It is a love that neither exploits nor demands gifts. It seeks to enjoy what is there in the other person and to share what one has. It is the love that Jesus exhibited in every word and act: His love freed others to be themselves in a way they could never have been without Him and allowed them to respond with a love for God which no sense of dependence or realization of duty could have created.”

Moms and dads, you and I have been given the gift to love with agape love….and in so doing, set our children free to be themselves in ways they could never be otherwise…and to respond with love for God free from any encumbrance of our own needs or desires. What a privilege!

(This post is inspired by chapter 7 of Like Dew Your Youth: Growing Up With Your Teenager by Eugene Peterson. Get a copy of this great little book and check back each Thursday for the next 6 weeks to become part of the discussion).

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