Carburettor wrote: ↑15 Sep 2023, 11:27
AmyJ wrote: ↑14 Sep 2023, 05:25
As for what your adult daughter is going through, I am curious whether it was "processing out loud" feelings about her relationship with you, or just processing/revising her experiences in the past that the church experience presented to her by you doesn't work and she is figuring out "why" and "how" and "what she needs".
My daughter isn't yet a self-reliant adult; she's in her mid-twenties and still relies heavily on us for practical guidance from her home in another part of the country. She went through the Church system without positive non-family role models because there were (and still are) relatively few members where we live, and there were no church contemporaries with whom she could relate. Instead, she was seduced by social media influencers and the liberties accessible to her educational peers. She kinda went through the motions until a year of trying to make it work in a YSA ward at university, when she weighed up the merits of what she concluded were "normality and freedom of self-expression" compared with the "frumpy, culty obedience" she associated with her church experience.
For a couple of decades, we had ring-fenced our family within the tenets of our faith, but my wife and I had to progressively dismantle that fence to avoid entirely losing the relationship with our daughter. Could we have done things differently to achieve a different outcome? Who can say? Everyone processes life in their own unique way. We provided a gospel-centric home, yet all but one of our children eventually said, "Yeah, no thanks."
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
I read it on Friday and then re-read it today. It sounds like she has made a lot of choices (and/or maybe pivotal choices) that you are not comfortable with (and they may not be the best choices or one of several equally problematical choices). I am getting that from the words "still relies on us heavily", "seduced by social media influences and the liberties accessible", "went through the motions", "ring-fenced our family", and "gospel-centric".
A big challenge for me as a parent is challenging the assumption that "what my children do reflects my personal worth as an individual". It's in line with the scriptural parable Jesus gave about "who did sin? [Who was the flawed person who wasn't worthwhile and should be "blamed" for the situation they are in] the blind man or his parents?" Jesus gave an entirely different answer, "Neither - this happened that the Glory of God may be made manifest".
You provided some reasons you were not able to "protect your daughter" from "non-member influences" or "the influences of her peers". That makes sense. You also gave a description about forming "rings of protection" around your daughter (with undertones of grief that the rings didn't work).
I am the first to admit that I don't know all the dynamics or all the factors. I know that I have done some wrestling with disappointing my parents and making choices that my parents think unwise. I ma in my 40's, so I have had a few extra decades to sort some things out in our relationship.
And yet - I often think about those parents of the blind man. I wonder about how hard it was to let him go be a beggar or wonder in awe as he navigated in an environment without eyesight. I wonder if his mother worried that had she gotten 1 more serving of carrots or something equally minor, would he still have been born blind? I wonder if it was the first time or one of many that they got dragged away from whatever they were doing, his farm/shop/task, maybe her bread/market stall, farming to "stand trial" in an impromptu way because they had a son and their son grew up to be a blind man. I wonder how they felt, expecting to hear that "they failed as parents" because have a blind son or that their son - "he failed as an individual" and now will be punished/scapegoated again for his lack of ability. Instead, they hear (maybe for the first time) there is a bigger purpose here - that this circumstance was set up to make manifest the Glory of God.
If there is a purpose here to my rambling, it's that you go about as the father of the blind man - doing your thing and caring for your family instead of being one of the judges on the side of the road. Maybe things are what they are in part to "make manifest the glory of God" - and maybe your load will be lighter if that is something that you look for and make as part of the family narrative.