Thursday, June 12, 2008

What are the "Rules" of Faith?

Today, while walking with my husband to his work, we discussed our children and their inheritance.

Our children have been raised to first and foremost understand that we love them, unconditionally. But, there have been "rules" that we have held them to, i.e. respect. We have tried to raise them by finetuning our parental "guidelines" to them as they grew. My husband did a better job than I. And I'll tell you why....

Bcoming a Christian meant for me that I didn't have to perform and that I didn't need to fear judgment. Needless to say, this understanding fit a particular paradigm, but it also met a felt need. Was my faith based on something that was insignificant, meaningless, or a "sand castle"? No, my faith had value for my self-confidence and my value to God and others. It was the necessary "bread" to help my passivity and indifference to life.

Unfortunately, after my children were born, my desire for a natural and whole family set in motion a tremendous need in me. And it set in motion a "performance" model, which in turn, made me feel a "standard" and fear of failure and judgment. That "Christian standard" helped along a fear of intimacy with my children, because I was afraid of not "performing" (having obedient children). This fear of judgment led to not fine-tuning my parenting skills to know and understand my children, as individuals. Individuality is the first and foremost necessity in parenting, for parenting is not an assembly line that produces a product that can be scutinized and stamped at the end, with approval.

What does all of this mean, as far as "rules of faith"? Because fortunately, I have gained my children's confidence, in spite of my short-comings, and my husband has always had their confidence; we can make the "rules" determining how their inheritance will be distributed.ra Because we do not feel the need to determine and control beforehand who has the greater need, and because we trust their compassion and judgment in responding to their siblings need, if that be the case, we will divide our assests equally. And the "rules" will be just, and they will be the ones to respond (or not), if a need presents itself.

What does this "say" to our children? It says that we trust them to do the right thing. My husband always trusted them more than I did. I believed in depravity, so much so that I inhibited their "free expression" for fear of their "heart going astray". It also says that we trust their relationships to one another to be strong enough to weather the grief of loss.

What does all of this have to do with faith? Everything! What we believe about ourselves and God transfers so often to others. That is not insignificant when it comes to church issues. We seek justice, when we don't trust another's motives or ability to "grow beyond" their failures to us. Understanding the individuality of children should underline the differences we will find in "community", therefore, it behooves us to understand that there are going to be differences in how we understand our faith. Faith is the ability to "see" another with God's eyes and believe in the possibilities and potentialities of another's life. That is what loving is all about. And isn't that what faith is really about?

"For is you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE does you heavenly Father."

No comments: