‘I think my father doesn’t love,’ an eleven year old boy told his class mate.
This little one said this because didn’t see his parents much any day, but he saw his father least. Dad is always busy outside home working and looking to make enough money to fill the house with all the things he, the father, has determined are important yet his son would prefer just more time and less things. Clearly father and son are on different pages in reference of what is important.
Today’s reality is that one income is hard to live off and many parents are in very demanding work roles to remain afloat. Many feel they cannot change demands and schedules because money has to raised and lives have to be fuelled. So we are going to work very early to get ahead of the traffic and coming late for the same reason. I remember when I was still employed, I was up at 5am to get everything ready for the day including making lunch for the young king. I would drop him off at 7.30am and start my two hour commute to work.
I got to work tired because I have been up and on the move for 4+ hours already. I’d put in a full eight hours and leave work at 7.30pm to avoid the same traffic. I worked some weekends and got home exhausted to make dinner and black out sometimes leaving him awake alone. I was irritable because of exhaustion but the bank account was good and I could afford things that were previously out of reach. More was available but I slowly found that other sectors were suffering greatly.
The major casualty in this routine was the young king.
I tried to make it up by spending weekends together and worked hard to go out together and visit people we loved. It was the time we really bonded as mother and son and to date some people think we are too close. Yet because time was short, it had to be more than just hang out time. Every ride was a conversation, a lesson, a time to deep reflection or just jokes. We didn’t even switch on the radio and we didn’t realise that until a trip with the whole family where we kept turning the volume down to hear each other and daddy would turn it up because he is all music and we are all conversation.
So when I heard the young man question his father’s love, my heart broke.
He doesn’t understand that his father loves him and his expression is to provide a good life. He doesn’t know that there is a major cost to more time at home. On the other hand, daddy doesn’t know his son misses him so much and would rather he was home than out working. Daddy isn’t aware that the money isn’t making the big difference he thinks it is making. Daddy also doesn’t know that the ground for uncontrollable behaviour is being laid and unless something changes his son won’t grow up with his values because others will have raised the young man not him.
There is an ongoing conversation across the world about radicalisation and we keep wondering how it starts. I think the comment at the start is exactly where it starts. I know that sounds strange but hear me out. We have left and continue to leave our children exposed. We are out making money for the family to give them a lifestyle they don’t even know or need but miss out on key elements of training we need to be passing on. We are not teaching them simple skills like thinking, problem solving, pivoting, tenacity…the list is endless. We aren’t taking our children to the business and teaching them the basics. We don’t show them how we find it challenging to make ends meet and how to deal with toxic environments.
How do we expect them to survive?
Every conversation I have with a struggling young person brings me back to “6Train up a child in the way he should go, [a]And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov 22:6 (NKJV). Tears fill my eyes because as I raise the young king I am aware I don’t have all the answers but I have to keep learning and leaning in to God for direction. I am nothing without the wisdom that comes from above and would be lying to say any different.
I have many who call me stuck and wondering and others looking for ways to raise fees and don’t even know where to start. It was so funny when a couple of them said that they want to quit work because it was boring and repetitive. I laughed out loud but within me my heart broke and the tears fell and when I composed myself we had a discussion about it. How do I help a team of young adults who are untrained and unskilled to proceed? How do we deal with children who are insecure, lonely and rudderless because of parental absence?
It all leaves me unsettled.
- I am unsettled because there are millions of young people as rudderless and unprepared for life especially the young men.
- I am unsettled because unless we do something for these young people their future is bleak.
- I am unsettled because if we continue to live as we are the future of our generations is at stake.
- I am unsettled because we seem to be unaware that if we leave our children so unprepared we have set the stage for their radicalisation.
- I am unsettled because the days of complacency are over and my Father has called me to work.
Join me as unsettled and let’s change the world around us one person, smile, touch, conversation, book and interaction at a time.