A blogger I follow wrote a wonderful piece entitled “how will we know?” How will we know if we raised our children well? (You can read her complete blog by following the link.)
A little litmus test was provided:
- How do they treat the dog when no one is looking?
- Who do they prefer, the high and mighty or the underdog?
- Are they generous to those in need?
- What do I feel when they leave, relief or sadness?
“Sadness,” she said, “always sadness.” She finished her blog by saying, “well, I guess I could say that I'm relieved he grew up so kind.”
I rejoice with this mother on the outcome of her children. Like the woman of Proverbs 31, may your “children arise and call you blessed, and your husband also, and may he praise you.”
Then I wonder about the others…those other parents who are numbered in the ranks with Eli, the high priest in the book of First Samuel. Eli’s life ended in disgrace as his sacrilegious sons were judged by God and the sacred Ark of the Covenant fell into enemy hands. Eli’s death marked the decline of the influence of the priesthood and the rise of the prophets in Israel.
First Samuel is a book of contrast...great beginnings and tragic endings. As a religious leader, Eli certainly must have begun his life in a close relationship with God. You may remember the barren Hannah and the conversation between her and Eli. Eventually Hannah did conceive and when her son (Samuel) was weaned, she honored her promise to God and presented him to the temple and Eli. There Samuel was dedicated to the Lord’s service so that he could serve the Lord all the days of his life. Yet for all that is right in this story, Samuel’s own sons turned away from God, taking bribes and perverting justice.
We find the transition from theocracy to monarchy within this book. The bible is full of contrasts, as is life…and parenting. As the blogger noted above about feeling sadness at the departure of her child, mine could be expressed as relief…and heartbreak and much, much sadness.
This weekend, Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, I will be attending a ‘retreat’ for the family and friends of the incarcerated. It is called Karios Outside.
P.S. Lea closed her blog with this:
"be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
It is also quite fitting here!
P.S.S. Love you Lea! Mean it!