In a 24 hour period, I have had 4 different encounters with people concerned about their children. One parent has a child fighting a serious disease in an Intensive Care Unit at a major university hospital. Another parent is concerned about her 16 year old, who is facing the sudden loss of a lifelong family friend. Two other parents are dealing with serious issues that could follow their children for the rest of their lives. Their kids have made some very poor choices.
During that same 24 hour time frame I was also forced to listen someone describe his perfect children, who have obviously never done anything wrong. (Does that sound a little sarcastic? If it does not, then I need to phrase it more effectively.) I wanted to come out of my seat and slap him upside the head, but I resisted. I was reminded that self-righteousness can exhibit itself in many forms.
Do you have great kids? That is a blessing. Are your kids fortunate enough to be healthy? That is wonderful too. Allow me to dole out some sound advice. There are parents not too far from you who are struggling with their children. There are parents in your community who are sitting in an Intensive Care Unit anxiously waiting for the next visitation time that only comes around every 6 hours. There are also moms and dads who have children incarcerated in county jails and state penitentiaries as well.
If you choose to extol the wonderful qualities of your children, do so with great sensitivity toward those around you are trying to keep their head above water. Self righteousness in such cases can do untold damage. Parents with imperfect kids… What do they really need? Struggling parents need a word of encouragement and concrete forms of support.
I consider myself very fortunate. I have great kids. They are not perfect. They make poor choices just like their father. But when I am around people like I have been in the past 24 hours, I try to listen with a compassionate ear. And when I am around those inclined toward self righteous behavior…well let’s just say I try my best to restrain myself. (But I do know what they really need!!)