Authority issues! We all have them and a lot of them come to the fore when we begin to parent. Even before the first ‘No!’ of the first child, we are confronted with the enormous challenge of how to be an authority to our precious children. This coming Sunday we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, which is a celebration of Christ’s authority. The way Jesus exercised authority is a good lesson in parenting.
Firstly, he is God-with-us. He came down very close to us. He was not a distant authority but one who has lived in our flesh and known our experience. ‘Being there’ is the first skill of parenting. Time is the most important gift we can give and it should be given generously. But sometimes it can’t. Work, illness, separation are not excuses for not being there but challenges to find other creative ways. Letters, cards, phone calls can make us present when physical presence is not possible.
Secondly, Jesus sets clear principles on behaviour. We all know the ‘Golden Rule’, that we should be compassionate, forgiving etc. Jesus does not love us and let us do what we like. We need to love like Jesus, setting clear principles that will allow our children to grow into their best selves with behaviour that makes them fully human, fully alive.
Thirdly, he sets the example. What behaviour Jesus wants us to do, he himself did first. You example is your strongest parenting.
Finally, Jesus loves us no matter what we do. He may not like or approve of our actions but still he loves. So it is with our children. We love not for what they can give us or do back for us, we love because we are created in God’s image…as they are, too.
Loving God, you author us into life. Send us your Spirit that, in following Jesus’ example, we may give loving authority to our children. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris