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The topic for the next fifth Sunday discussion ( May, 30, 2010) is: Are there limits as to what we ask from God in prayer and what we offer in thanks?

Have you ever tried to bargain with God?

One class member last week expressed his feeling of failure when he said,”I quess I have not prayed enough.”

I heard a song this week, Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.

Forty minuites won’t be long enough to for this discussion.  Joe Monre, said that we did not have enough time last Sunday.

I hope we can make better use of this blog to expand our discussions.

I am keeping a prayer journal until the next fifth Sunday discussion.  I challange you all to do the same.

Larry

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The discussion today on being parents of adult children showed the depth of the emotions that we have when our children wander away from the Christian faith and way of life that we chose.   I can not know the pain of feeling  failure in thinking that my childs decisions are the result of  what I did or did not do.   I found another reason to pray for others.

What role as parent can we or should we play in our adult childrens lives?

This is a list of some areas that I have seen  where we as parents can or have had serious conflicts with our children or our parents.  Some of these have been taken from my experience as an adult child or as a parent of adult children.  Some of them from observing other families.   You probably can add to the list.

Religion, money management, education, choice of friends, jobs, hobbies, alcohol, drugs, marriage, divorce, live in mates, raising children, pregnancy before marriage or after marriage, dependency, clothes, hair styles, appearance, use of time, lack of responsibility, sexual orientation……

What can parents do when our adult childrens reject  the christian faith?   Judy and I both grew up in Southern Baptist Churches.

Judy went through all of the steps of G. A.s and attended Tift College.  Tift at that time was an all womens Baptist college.  She started with a major in religion and completed with a major in english with a minor in regilion and art.  I attended Evans Baptist Church from the time I was six until I was 32.  I attended Sunday morning and night.  I was in the R.A.s.  I sung in the choir and sung baritone solos in the Christmas and Easter specials.  I taught a ten old year boys Sunday School class and was a co-leader with Lavenia Polatty for a teen age Training Union group .

When I was 32 and Judy was 27 we walked away from the baptist church.  We begin to attend Bahia fire sides and finally ended up at the Unitarian Universalist Church across the street.  For the next ten years Judy worked with the children on sunday morinigs and served on the board of directors.  I lead three of four sunday morning services,  using the writtings of Rod McQuen and the poet James Kavanough,  who made national news in the early 1960s with his book ” A Modern Day Priest Looks at The Outdated Catholic Church”.  I even considered becoming a Untarian Unversalist Minister.

My older sister told me later that mother prayed for me and Judy every day.  Judy’s parents preached to us.  I finally told Judy that I would not go back to their house as long as they were going to preach to me.  When Nancy was nine years old Mrs. Strickland asked if Nancy could be baptized because she had becom a christian.  I told Judy Nancy needed to wait until she was old enough and mature enough to understand what she was doing.  I was baptized at nine to please my mother. 

A year later Tina was born with a birth defect.  Her abdomen had not closed and her bladder was open and exposed to the outside of her body.  Her feet were pointed out at 180 degrees to each other.  Mrs. Strickland said that this was God’s punishment for turning our back on him.  I said that I would be a unitarian Job.

I believed I was a business whiz and was going to be able to retire when I was 45.  I had bankrupt the fanily business by the time I was 36.  My dad and I had many verbal fights.  He asked one time when did I start raising my voice to him.  I said, “You raised your voice first.” 

Money has been the cause of many family disruptions.  The biblical story of Jacob and Esau is about the control of the family fortune.  The parable of the prodigal son is about obtaining personal fortune.  I am sure your know examples of families broken and fortunes wasted.  One of my best friends was sued by two of his brothers after both parents were dead. 

Sometimes a childs marriage places parents in a financial bind to be sure the once in a life time event is perfect.  This may be for the brides happiness, or for the parents social status.  But divorce cost more than just money.  The broken adult relationships are difficult.  When grandchildern are involved the situation can be very heart breaking.  Legally grandparents have no rights.

My son, Chris admitted recently that he hated to come home from college.  His grades had slipped.  His finances were a mess.  We had bailed him out financially and put us in a bind.  The closer he got to home the angrier he got because he knew he would have to listen to a lecture.  He avoided us as much as he could.  He finally dropped out of college.  And the first chair trumpeter in the all state high school band his senior year stopped playing his trumpet.

Our beautiful daughter, Nancy was senior class president.  Miss Harlem Revue, and graduated with top honors.  She choose marriage over college or art school.  Before she was 21 she had won sales award as a part time employee over full time people.  She was that assistant personel director for Macys and acting director for a year.  She was married to a bright good looking young man.  They had a beautiful daughter and a nice new house.  Nancy developed agoriaphobia, and later was dianosed with bipolar disorder,  got a divorce and attemped /threatened suicide several times.  She balooned to over 300 lbs.  She made a financial mess.  We moved her in with us two different times.  She remarried.  She became the manager of a department store.  She had a son.   Her husband is a drug addict, an alcoholic and a thief.  She got a other divorce. 

This topic may be diffcult to discuss openly.  The relationship berween parent and child may be closer than the one between husband and wife.  When a seemingly unbridgable chasm is reached in the relationship the emotions can reach to very deep levels of hurt or the greatest height of elation.   Sharing the joy is easy.  Sharing the pain may be hard.  And knowing how to respond to anothers pain takes wisdom.

From my experience prayer and patience are two tools that parents must have when coping with relationships with their chlidren.   What is the saying?  “Never pray for patience .  God will give you children.”

The stories I told about me and my family do have good endings.  I will give the endings as of today later.