Monday, April 20, 2009

The Best Way to Create a Paranoid Schizophrenic

Dad's typical attire during my teenage and young adult years. He would be in the hospital or on bed rest for months at a time. The kids are my kids, Daniel, Darin and David visiting dad at the Vetrans Hospital in Redlands, California

I need to ramble a little here to set the backdrop for the point:
I was very fortunate as a child. I lived. It is not that I was really a wild child but the potential and opportunity was there. My father was a product of his time and culture and believed whole heartedly in not sparing the rod. He had a rule for everything and a corresponding punishment that was intended to be a sufficient deterrent. As far as he knew, it worked. Don’t ask, I will not tell, never have, never will. Maybe there’s nothing to tell, but I am not the point of the story anyway. My dad was set on a course of ruling with an iron fist while claiming to love me…which he did. I wonder how my life would have been different had he not become an invalid when I was 11. His rule by power came to an abrupt end. It would have literally killed him to physically try to control me in any physical sense. Here’s where dads 136 IQ came into play. He switched his parenting model. Threats were useless anyway. He set standards that were for my best interest and gave me tons of freedom. The one thing I really rebelled at in my heart was out of his control…his illness…and FATHER took care of that on one miraculous Saturday Morning. I will tell you about that some time. His one control as I grew older was the car. He provided it and a gas card. The rule was simple, drive stupid, speed, get drunk etc and you lose the car..Period. I never doubted that his resolve on the subject was equal to his generosity. I never violated his conditions. Fortunately speed was NOT on the list IF it was restricted to being alone on the back country roads where we often hit triple digits together in the car. I did crash his Olds into a tree once and tore the underside of it out in a washed out road another time, but neither time was I at fault. Even before dad knew it was not my fault, he demonstrated in his initial attitude that cars were replaceable, I was not. What makes that even sweeter is my dad really loved his cars, but he loved me more. No contest, totally different category more. Where most teens and young men struggle in relationships with their father, our relationship grew. My dad was my best friend and most loyal supporter and friend. I’m sitting here wondering if part of God’s purpose for my dad’s health problems was to start him down the pathway of relationship and grace. I’m thinking it must have been because that is where he ended up. That sets a new record for me in insights. My previous record was 35 years between asking God why and getting an answer. God gave me a peace for my father’s condition when I was 14, but until a few moments ago I never really saw much of the depth of the plan. I can REJOICE from my heart in what God does, proving Romans 8:28 is true…again. September, 1961 to April 2009, just a few months short of 48 years! My point in the beginning was to tell you how to raise a paranoid schizophrenic. Read this excerpt from "Loving Our Kid's on Purpose" By Danny Silk

In order to train our children in love, our behavior as parents must reduce fear, not increase fear. When happens when you go toe-to-toe with one of your kids? What happens when one of your kids does not want to obey? What do you do when your child lies in your face? What is your response when your child gives you something ugly like disrespect? .As much as love casts out the fear, fear will cast out love. Love and fear are enemies. They are completely different sources. Love is from God, and His enemy produces fear. We need some methods, tools and skills to respond to your child's sin in such a way that we create love, not fear.”

The point: Had my father remained healthy and allowed to continue on uninterrupted in his child rearing philosophy he would have fallen into a terrible trap. While telling me he loved me he would have tried to put the fear of God into me more than the Love for God in me. There is no way that story could have had a happy ending. Maybe I would not have been a paranoid schizo but it sure sounds like a good recipe to make one. Under Father’s plan, my father started us both down the pathway to knowing how much God Loves us and today that feels like it must be a whole bunch. I hope you don’t have to wait 48 years to see how one of your greatest sources of pain was REALLY the path to God’s richest blessing, but if you are waiting, just believe and trust while you wait. Or you could go with the Paranoid Schizo recipe believing you should fear the God who Loves you. The shack study guide, the shack discussion guide


heidi jo said...

doni told me about that book and i've already placed my order. i think it is quite timely for this point in my parenting 'career'. :)

it is beautiful to see how the Lord even had YOU and YOUR KIDS and YOUR GRANDKIDS in mind as he turned your dad's path in a difficult but beautiful and gracious way. the road was rocky but the scenery breathtaking. :)

Doni Brinkman said...

Anxious to get that book in the mail. Been thinking about relational parenting all week. I love that God gave you a peek at what His plan was. Now that is relational. :)