An Unexpected Conversation That Might Change Everything
There is so much to say and so much to learn about communication when it comes to enjoying a close relationship with our adult children. Too much to say in a blog post (even though I write long ones...). I promise to keep this one shorter, but there is one more conversation I want to explore before we leave this topic for now.
We looked at conversations that open doors to
, ones that give the possibility to
, and discussions (or not) that might (or might not) help
All of those conversations focused on talks between parent and adult child.
The last one is between...
Sometimes the best way to build bridges is to accept one another.
No talking involved.
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:7
"Accepting" one another can be easy...
when they won't return our phone calls or texts.
when they refuse to take our well-intentioned advice.
when they are demanding or insensitive.
when we can't find common ground - if only they would change _____, we would get along just fine.
I learned about the importance of accepting one another from a conversation with an adult child. It has stuck with me because I learned that this parent/adult child dynamic is a two-way street. We have so much to learn from each other. This wise woman (let's call her Jeni) realized the occasional bumps she and her mom experienced came from "wishing my mom were different."
"My relationship with my mom has always been a work in progress. There's just something in our personalities. We are open and honest with each other, but I've never been one to talk to my mom every day. I feel loved and respected by her, and I feel her approval of my life...she's just always looking for ways to make me better.
I've had to learn to just accept who my mom is. She is doing the best she can with me. My expectation of what I wanted had to change. I have had to learn not to compare her to other moms and realize her reference point is different than mine.
(My parents) only know what they know about parenting and grandparenting. They are doing the best they can. Realizing that has helped me have more mercy.
They are not going to look like other's parents, and it's not fair to put them in a box.
A few years ago I finally did something that helped. My mom is practical and an organizer; it was hard for her to simply relax at my home. She was always very helpful, but I wanted her to just be present - just be with me.
So I organized a girl's weekend away with her. We were away from our homes and other family members. We could sit and talk and just be together. It was wonderful!"
We aren't a box...
Our parents and our adult children will probably never fit perfectly into whatever box we put together.
When we accept that (them), we can use our energy to start imagining ways to connect outside that box.
Listening to Jeni the day we talked, I was reminded of some lessons Paul taught the Philippian and Colossian churches.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility,
value others above yourselves
, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV, emphasis added)
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion
, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Bear with one another
and forgive one another is any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV, emphasis added)
Of all the conversations we explored, this might be the one we want to have today.