Monday, November 13, 2006

A Vicarious Life

I cringe when I witness parents living vicariously through their children.

You know, parents at their kids' sporting events literally losing their minds.

Coaches who talk to kids like they're pros. And coaches who belittle their own children (who happen to play the high profile positions -hmm, wonder how that happens) to the point of everyone's discomfort, because they dropped the ball or missed the tackle.

Parents whose praise to criticism ratio is slanted way too far on the latter end of the scale.

Parents who can't let kids be kids because they themselves haven't quite yet grown up, or there's something that has passed them by in their youth that cannot be relived or reclaimed no matter how hard they try.

I don't know, maybe the parent longs still to be validated -

or young, again -

or somehow have their spawn reach glorious heights not because they did in their own, but precisely because they didn't.

I never really understood it.

But when I look into the eyes of my 14 year old - I find it difficult to not think of my life at his age. An age that was very, very good. A time of adventure, quite a bit of fun, discoveries of varying kinds to pursue (now would be a good time to remind you that I am a P.K.).

When I look at Andrew I have to be careful that I'm looking at a young man I've loved and reared, and not myself when I was 14.

I find that I want him to know the kind of things I did (well, some of the things I did), the music I listened to (and still do), my performance in school , and when the time comes, what it means to be serious about a girl - and, when the time comes - what answering God's call for your life looks like -

And I have to ask myself , "why?" Why do I want him to know this?

So that he'll like me? No.

So that he'll think his old man is cool? There's nothing I could say to help make that happen.

Within each of us is the longing to share our stories - it's our motivation in the sharing that is the variable.

And maybe that's the thing - what I need to do is not convince him I was 14 once, but be ready, when the time comes, to share my life with him (in all it's faults and failures) at his initiation, and let him be the man he's becoming.

1 comment:

Tracey Harris said...

Again- Johnny- you've spoken to my heart! Today is particularly touching being that it is Layne's 10th birthday! Remember baptising her? I remember so clearly when Kristi was expecting Andrew and now he is so "grown-up." We are getting old... (I'm so guilty of forcing the girls to listen to Journey, Queen, Boston, Billy Joel etc. against their will. Fortunately Eric has corrupted them with AC/DC yet... I'm sure that is just a matter of time!)