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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good Labels/Bad Labels - part one

I have had a longer than anticipated hiatus from blogging. There has been a lot of turmoil in my life these past few weeks and when I did feel like blogging I was simply too exhausted to squeeze in those last few minutes before bed. I have the whole of this week off work and, consequently, have time to enjoy my family and also reflect on a number of areas that I have been pondering lately.

A blog isn't the place to reveal one's life to the world in its' entirety but I do feel a need to share an outline of our journey for purposes of prayer and reflection. My middle son, who is 6 years old, has been having quite pronounced behavioural difficulties; he began kindy in February and every week has been in trouble for, basically, being defiant and rude. At home he has been having some very bad tantrums.

The reason that I mention this is because this, and a couple of other issues, have caused me to think about what it means to be a Christian, a Christian family and also the place of labels in society.

I am an ordained Baptist pastor although not employed by a church (which is a good thing). Simply by being recognised as a "pastor" brings an extra burden for some people and I must confess that, in the early days, I put pressure on myself. But the fact is that my children are normal kids with their own struggles. My role is not to force them into a pre-determined box of Christendom's design but to help them to become all that they can be. Thomas, my middle one, is called to be Thomas and no-one else. He isn't called to be the me that never was or to be a child from a movie; Thomas is called to be Thomas.

As we have struggled through the gamut of options from elimination diets through to testing for ADD I have learnt a great deal about what it means to love unconditionally. When a child is punching and kicking you it pushes a heap of buttons, especially with a childhood like mine. To be honest I have been less than perfect and have made my fair share of mistakes but I am called to love my children and everytime I fail in this I get back up and call on God to show me and equip me to be the best father that I can be.

Why am I sharing this? Probably to unburden a little but mostly to say that there is no clearly defined Christian family; no perfect Christian father; labelling kids as ADD, ADHD, Behaviourally Challenged etc. doesn't get to the heart of the matter that what is needed most is patient, enduring love and support. Rather than joining in the shouting I now spend a lot of time sitting with him and learning to listen to his fears and concerns and seeking to help him work through them. Much like Jesus I suppose.

1 comment:

Colin A. Lamm said...

It is no wonder that so many Christian people go about hiding so much of their lives from one another: we have constructed a religion of 'labels' to which no one can live up to. Therefore we only reveal the acceptable "christian me" to one another rather than live with the condemnatory attitude that we just don't measure up. Thank God for His complete and unmerited mercy and grace!