Do your kids joke and groan about your teaching style? I frequently use analogies and comparisons to make a point. You know, Jesus used parables, a little story to teach a lesson for parallel situations, like an analogy! So analogies cannot be all bad despite the rolling eyes and moans and groans from my kiddos.
I remember one analogy (not one I made up) in which it is said that a poor person is given an invitation to an exclusive restaurant by the owner, to come anytime to dine and eat all he wants without charge! Wow, what a gift – one he could never afford on his own.
Yet the poor person, accustomed as he is to being homeless and scrounging for food, opts to eat the scraps from the trash bins in back of the restaurant. You may think, why — was he would be embarrassed to wear his raggedy clothing inside? But the owner had thoughtfully provided a new suit of clothes, expertly tailored to fit the poor man to which he could have changed into anytime he wished to come and dine in the restaurant. In fact, EVERYTHING had been provided for the poor man to be able to come in and dine without any expense on his part.
Yet he would not.
I remember this analogy being presented to illustrate that we as Christians sometimes are like the poor man who contented himself with the scraps when he could have been feasting! His “dine in for free ticket” was being wasted. And we sometimes have a similar outlook when we fail to grasp our position as dearly loved children of the Most High God!
I can relate the analogy to my adopted kids as well, when they are seemingly blind and oblivious to the love we have for them and the opportunities that they have now. It is like they prefer to eat out of the trash cans. This is the orphan mentality at work; the self-doubt and denial of their own worth. It is not exclusive to the adopted children, but seems deeper and more pervasive with them. And while they are in this frame of mind, they doubt and discount anything that would counter it, and they absorb anything that would reinforce their negative thinking, magnifying and distorting it as well.
Recently some of my family has begun volunteering with our homeschool group to help with a meal once a month for the homeless. I believe serving others will help us have a better perspective on our own life and is the right thing to do when we have the opportunity. It is good to see that people are people and to realize that we all have basic needs. Even so, it is easy for children and adults alike to get into a detached mentality of “them” and “us”. We have a way of throwing up this self-protective wall that keeps us detached from those we think are somehow different than we are.
In identifying the struggles and needs of my children, particularly my adopted children, I have had to come face to face with some elements of my own life that were previously under the surface. At any given time I may also demonstrate an orphan mentality, rather than the beloved child of God mentality.
Affirmations, written down and read and prayed over, have helped me to overcome this. I can still slip though. When I read through my affirmations I can BELIEVE them because I really do know that they are based in TRUTH and in God’s perspective he has provided to me through his Word. I will continue to teach the children/teens/young adults (and pray that God provides others to speak into their lives) how loved they are and how precious they are, and what God’s view is. I pray that someday they will believe it, thoroughly. Their foundation of love seems shaky or even non-existant at times to them, but I know my love for them is firm because it is not my human love, but God’s eternal and unconditional love that makes it firm.
1 John 3:1 says: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them tools to help. There are some natural products we have begun using in our family that make a big difference in helping kids cope with overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus. If you think it might be helpful for your family to learn more about these products feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to fill you in.