Parents Need Grace Too
We often talk about having grace for first-time parents or grace for mothers of young children because it is HARD! We talk about having grace for our kids because...THEY ARE KIDS. Each day is a new learning experience for them. They work so hard emotionally, intellectually and physically to figure out how to do life in a way that is acceptable and safe. There are so many cultural and social misnomers that you completely take for- granted until your child stumbles upon one. Like eating boogies. Why isn't it acceptable to relieve the crusty interior of your nostrils and curiously sample the find? You have an irritation in an orifice and you have just the right tool attached to rectify the situation. Makes perfect sense to a toddler.
Another group we often give grace to are the aging adults. Our parent's parents. I'm so glad that more and more folks in my generation are starting to see the dismissal of my grandparent's age group and doing their best to fill the gap. I also see this particular age group extending grace to those whacko grandkids they have. They might not "get" us but they show up. They listen. They are looking for commonalities as opposed to differences and that's huge. I've seen this play out in various groups I'm a part of--Artist groups where we have nothing in common but a creative bend. Mother's groups where we have the common bond of raising children. Church groups where we link arms and hearts due to the common spiritual bond we share. I see grace growing and it is so good.
I think there is a very important group that is being left out of the mix. A group we are quick to critique and judge. A group that sends us into humphs and rolled eyes and whispers to our friends..."I can't believe.....", "Do you know what....." " Honestly, what was she or he thinking??"
Our parents and our children’s grandparents. When our parents “fail” us, we are often shocked and very judgemental because they have always been our rocks, the ones that seem to know how to deal with everything….
They taught us to eat.
They taught us to walk.
They taught us to read.
They may have helped us through the first stages of dealing with children because they have been there and done that. Yep, they know a lot.
But here’s one thing they might not know…. how to be parents of adult children. Just like raising young children, there are no handbooks or manuals for be a parent of a parent. Just as you have a hard time letting go while your little tot takes their first steps, they are having just as hard of a time stepping aside and letting you walk the hard journey of parenting. They don’t know what they are supposed to say or do or even think sometimes. Think about it...would you know what to do?
Can I suggest another thing? They might be terrified…. They love you and your children so much and they really don’t want to mess up. Have you ever felt that terror? I know I have. Every. Single. Day.
So what does this mean for us as their children?
We need to show grace.
They showed us oodles of grace as we stumbled and fell. They were there to pick us up and dust off our knees and hold us as we dealt with the emotions that come from failing after trying our best. I think it’s our time to do the same.
This might mean:
A note of encouragement.
A phone call.
A white flag.
In this season where we are going to be celebrating Mother’s Day and Father's Day, remember that both you and YOUR parents need grace because relationships are messy and they are often filled with mistakes and misunderstanding. We all need some grace in this life. I know I will when my boys are raising their children. I'll probably send this to them if there is still such a thing as the internet and computers. ha!