We held a small memorial for a little creature whose ability to receive love taught us all a big lesson: to love is to name is to care is to keep. It is to mourn and to cry, too; and it is to continue to create and care about the living and the dying and the not-yet-born.
One does not need to do anything remarkable to be an object of love. One only needs to be that which it is – cat, boy, mom, dad, human, alive.
Nothing you do as a parent will shield you from this. Your adorable, sheltered, pink-cheeked cherubs will fling crap at you, they will blame you, hate you perhaps, be embarrassed by you, ignore you, lie to you, call you names. And when they’re grown you will one day wish for the easier battles when your kindergartner packs her Barbie suitcase and decides to run away. You will long for the day you found scribbled, torn and smudged notes hidden in the corner of the room under a pile of stuffed animals, notes that say, I hate mom, she is mean and I hate her.
But you will never give up on them. You will never stop loving them more. You just want another opportunity to give them grace.
Ouch! That hurt! Criticism can sting, but our reaction can cause deeper wounds and cause us to become heartsick. It can prompt us to withdraw and fall into confusion. “Isn’t there a grain of truth in every critical statement?” we ask, and give way to the power of negative criticism. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can respond to criticism in such a way that harmful words are transformed into empowering statements that will grow our confidence, faith and make us more humble, empathetic people. In my previous post, we identified what negative criticism is and how to identify it. In this issue, we will break down the list and learn how to turn the negative criticism into positive growth. Negative criticism immediately puts us into a position of defensiveness, backs us into a corner. What exactly is negative criticism? The following is how I’ve come to identify negative criticism (as opposed to constructive negative feedback): * Can come from a stranger or an intimate friend (or even yourself). * Is rarely purely motivated …
To be honest, a feast of love seems too indulgent, too extravagant for this earth-bound girl’s palate. Shouldn’t I work, prove, strive, beg for crumbs? And I hear the words spoken slowly, spreading like melted butter on a thick wedge of toast:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)
Oh, what manner. Full-calorie, rich, dense, never-ending, complete.
What clips your wings? My youngest boy brought home an application to be a class representative in student body government, his first foray into leadership, politics, into submitting himself to the popular vote. The form says: List in this box text that describes why you should be considered for student leadership. His answers are adorable. But more than the cuteness of a nine-year-old stretching his wings in the confidence of his own flight is the profundity of his confidence. He is not tinged by doubt, he is untethered by past failure; his future is abounding in hope and choice and greatness. He lists his achievements (in his best handwriting) and doesn’t see them as small, but sees them as toeholds and handholds to climbing higher. “I get to be line leader”; “I almost always turn in all my work on time”; “I am kind”. He is putting himself out there, testing the lift and strength of his confidence. The class votes next week on whom they’ll choose to represent them. And he may fail. A …