I caught the end of "Hope Floats" on TV the other day while rummaging through some paperwork.
Sandra Bullock's character tells her daughter that "childhood is the thing you spend your adult life getting over." Or something like that.
I had to laugh. It really is true, and you'd think that after you hit 40 those issues would go away, but as I minister to people, there it is. It's in me, too. Past occurrences, especially parental induced, mess us up.
Much as I have a lot of "stuff" that still follows me around from my childhood, (and still have a 76 year-old-control-freak father who thinks I'm one of the stupidest people alive) there are many of my friends who have much more from which to break free.
We all seem to suffer from self-esteem problems of one level or another. So, then I have to wonder....how badly have I messed my own kids up?
Did I push 'em too much? Not enough? Did I hurt their feelings? Did I lift them up or drop them in despair?
They're all great kids...even the ones to which I didn't give birth.
My oldest is an Eagle scout. It was his dream to get Eagle. We had to push him through the last stages. He was trying to graduate, work, get a car, and make Eagle before his 18th birthday. That was a fun year! But, he made it, praise God.
My youngest struggled through Scouts because he thought we demanded it of him. He has retired a Star scout and all of us are relieved. He hasn't followed through on any of his passions; basketball, music, etc., for one reason or another. I think he hasn't found the "thing" because he's good at everything he tries. Straight A's with no effort. He most likely has more talent in one little finger...and a higher IQ than any of us...and he has no idea how incredible he is.
I did, though, ask him to draft me a letter as to why he wanted to quit scouts, so he did. I sealed it and mailed it to myself with a postmark--and filed it.
I didn't want him coming back to us when he is 30 and demanding why we let him quit when we encouraged his brother--which we only did because it was his brother's passion.
We wrap ourselves around the perception of others and take it as the truth. They see our flaws, our faults, our mistakes, our less-than-perfect appearances. We let that become our esteem-o-meter and walk in those untruths. One thoughtless (intended or not) word from a parent (or child, or friend, or spouse) can last a lifetime.
Sometime, though, as we work our way through our journey, we have to learn to shake it off--it's hard because the reflection of ourselves that we see from others seems to ring true--after all, they're LOOKING at us, right? They KNOW us, right? And, it can be the only "tangible" feedback that we get.
Somehow, though, we have to see our reflection in the right Light--from the right Source--from the One True Mirror. Him, of course. We're made in His image--not theirs. Anything bad we get from others in regard to ourselves is a poor reflection.
Everything here, in this realm, is small and unimportant compared to what will Be. Thank God.
If only we could always remember that, and strive to be instruments of True Reflection, for ourselves, our children, and others---but, truly, no one's opinion, bad OR good, matters! Only His opinion matters--and that's a done deal. We're loved, adored, sacrificed for. And, there's not a thing we can do about it.