Posted January 30th, 2014

*Names have been changes to protect the guilty. The story is a conglomerate of many.

Parenting inevitably involves conflict.

Helping young adults learn to govern themselves taxes the character of the parent.

Esmeralda the Young, was grounded from the one thing she loved most– reading. The arguing really pushed her mother, Lilith the Lovely, over the edge. For certain Esmeralda didn’t like having her will thwarted. As homeschooling is not all sunshine and roses, Lilith insisted that Esmeralda finish her school before going outside and working on her fort.

This is when the argument hit full stride…

“It is cruel and unusual punishment to make me stay inside on a beautiful day like today,” said Esmeralda. And while Lilith certainly understood, she also knew this particular young adult had the propensity to perfectly procrastinate.

“You take away the only joy in my life—reading! And then you make me stay in this house, next to this window, where I can see outside. It’s like torture!” shouted Esmeralda.

Lilith held, “I’m sorry, but you have to finish your work before you go outside.” Esmeralda let loose a torrent of anger that prompted her sister to add,

“You win the Grammy for dramatic performance in a family sitcom.”  Esmeralda shot her the stink eye, along with a firm, “Shut up.”

Tempers flared and the conflict escalated. Esmeralda added trespass upon trespass; in addition she challenged Lilith head to head.  This was crossing the line.

Lilith was trained to meet conflict stride for stride, to never back down, and to dominate ruthlessly. All that was woven into Lilith as a child was awakened and the drive to back her opponent into a corner and to win at all costs sprang to the surface. Like a lioness that had her authority challenged, the primal territory hunter bared her fangs.  The “you know what” was about to hit the fan and it would not be evenly distributed.

For a split second, she heard a whisper and leaned in to remember. Years ago she fell in love with a man. She was really only a child when she first met him. Slowly over   forty years he had been teaching her what love looks like. Love doesn’t dominate. Love doesn’t have to win. In fact loosing is the path to wining when love is involved. More than once he said that loving others was only second to loving God. “What would it look like to love, really love, Esmeralda at this exact moment?” she thought.

It would look like choosing what was best for her, and bearing the result of Esmeralda’s thwarted will.  It would look like letting Esmeralda have the last word. It would look like forgiving the insults. It would look like walking away and letting the territory go.

“I know you are angry,” said Lilith, “so we will give you some space.” And with that Lilith and the wiry sister left the room.

The day passed and the emotions finally dissipated. School was completed, forts were built and a Lilith found a note on her desk attached to a confiscated book,

“From your Daughter, who knows that grounding is for her good.”

Love- to will the good of another.[1]

[1] Often said by Dallas Willard. Check out a beautiful explanation in Elane O’Rourke’s A Dallas Willard Dictionary. Pg.181-184.

Starting Soon: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? Choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

Learn more >