allow the painful gap

good-question

Recently, a friend of mine posed an interesting question on Facebook. It’s a question I think about a lot for my own life–and hope that my own curiosity and passion flows through to my kids. The friend who asked is an educator rather than a parent, so I can only assume that he’s asking in that capacity. I hope my kids’  teachers are asking that same question of themselves. I am fairly certain the only way to educate someone is to fully understand and embrace it yourself.

I find that I long for truth and beauty naturally. It’s a void all human hearts ache to fill. However, the ability and desire to continue to seek those things depends on a each person. We cannot attempt to dull that ache with counterfeit truth and counterfeit beauty. Not only will those things not fulfill the true longings of your heart, but they will spoil your taste for the real thing.

As parents, we should not separate the natural consequences from a chosen action–because we learn from consequence–making life easier and more palatable for the child. The very same concept holds true for a longing of truth and beauty. If we attempt to make life easier or more palatable for our kids (our ourselves!) by filling that truth-beauty hole with easy and accessible junk–we’ll eliminate the hunger for the real thing.

I have to be careful not to satiate that hunger with silly things. And it can be such a easy temptation, right?

I must not allow myself to be so filled with counterfeit good that I’ll turn away from the lack of beauty and truth in my own life and in the world. When I’ve become insensitive to beauty and truth (my heart’s belly so full of junk) I will feel comfortable shielding my eyes and spirit from the ache for truth and beauty of the rest of the world. I’ll allow myself to remain small and quiet–not feeling the great and present desperation of the world. I must allow myself to stay aware of the painful gap between what should be and what is.

I have to be careful not to stop the natural desire to bring beauty and truth forth into the world–for ease, or laziness, or frustration, or insecurity. I have to allow that hole to remain unfilled in order to feel enough to be compelled to not only pursue truth and beauty myself–but to encourage others to do the same.

 

11 Comments

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Lindsy

    I just love this. So much. My oldest is only a year and a half, so I’ve been in th process of figuring out how to do this discipline thing. I love how you framed it here. I’m a fan of natural consequences. But you are right that truth and beauty must be in MY life first. Love it!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply November 5, 2012

      Tiny Twig

      my youngest is about a year and a half–and it is interesting to watch how he understands cause and effect at this age. i love the book “parenting with love and logic”, as far as discipline goes.

      • Reply November 5, 2012

        Lindsy

        I love that one! Also “loving our kids on purpose”.

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Jess

    Really, really good. Beautiful. xoxo

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Ashley

    It’s so wonderful that you’re thinking about this for your kids! As an English major, I’m probably biased, but I know that as a child, the books I read had a great deal to do with my understanding of truth and beauty. By the time I was 9, I could tell the difference between a story that was truthful (meaning well-written, involved complex characters, and spoke about the hard realities of life) and a story that was merely meant to entertain.

    If you’re interested, I highly recommend any of Madeleine L’Engle’s books, especially “Walking on Water” (for you) and “A Wrinkle in Time” (for your boys).

    • Reply November 5, 2012

      Tiny Twig

      yes! reading!

      my oldest is just starting to read and it’s like a magic door has been opened for him. i remember when i learned to read and it felt like i could do anything. thanks for the suggestion!!

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Cassie

    This may be slightly different, but I wanted to share what my parents have done that have showed me truth. My parents, who love the Lord and have done their best to raise us to see His truth, raised seven kids. All of us are different, all of us love each other, and all of us have struggled greatly at one point or another. We are all adults now, and all of us love the Lord today and truly seek truth and beauty. Looking back, I think one thing they did that encouraged this, was that they welcomed apologies. They remind me of the prodigal sons’ dad, who no matter how awful the son was, when he came home, they welcomed him and forgave him without even blinking. I want to make sure that one day I am a parent that welcomes my kids with open arms when they realize the truth, instead of making the (sometimes) pain of truth hurt us more.

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Margaret

    “If we attempt to make life easier or more palatable for our kids (our ourselves!) by filling that truth-beauty hole with easy and accessible junk–we’ll eliminate the hunger for the real thing.” –so true! Here’s to the real thing *clink*

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Kara

    Ahhh yo ask how we teach this to children when I struggle with teaching this to myself! My heart is so heavy today reading this with how often I settle for crappy saviors. It’s like the C.S. Lewis quote about being satisfied with making mud pies… And I keep feeling like I need to get this together before my kids get old enough to pick up on this less than desirable trait of mine! Aghhhh!!!!

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Amber

    So powerful friend, and so true. I find myself beginning every day longing for real beauty and capitol T Truth but filling myself up with junk instead, so I have to spend the night “de-cluttering” I never thought that I may be passing that on to my kiddos. I love that God put you in my life and I so enjoy being able to glean wisdom from you, thank you!!

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