Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Five Suggestions for Surviving Parenthood (pt 1)
"And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob." Genesis 25:28 (NKJV)
We can learn from Isaac and Rebekah's mistakes concerning their failure in bringing up Esau and Jacob.
Firstly, deal with the negatives of the past.
Isaac was overindulged as a child and over-protected. He may have harbored bitterness to his father for not allowing him more freedom to take risks. This could explain why he favoured Esau, his hunting, adventurous child. This also could have caused Isaac to be attached more closely to Sarah, his mother, causing an over reaction of grief at her death and possibly leading to unhealthy comparisons of Rebekah to Sarah in their marriage.
Secondly, develop communication.
We know that Isaac and Rebekah communicated well in body (King Abimelech of the Philistines caught them making out in his court - Gen 26:8- when they were in their sixties!) and in Spirit (as they both are mentioned praying), but they lacked soul communication (communication in mind, will and emotions). Hidden bitterness may have crept in (in Isaac as Rebekah could not conceive, in Rebekah as Isaac became more withdrawn). This lack of communication caused severe problems when they finally had children.
Thirdly, destroy favoritism.
Psychologists warn us that favoritism in the family unit tends to cause serious personality defects in the children. Isaac favoured Esau and Rebekah favoured Jacob. This led to serious problems, with Rebekah and Jacob conspiring to steal the firstborn son blessing. Bitterness and mistrust ruled in their family.
This is something I have become painfully aware of in my own family. Not long ago I was very lenient to my youngest son, Matthew over a small issue. Later my wife told me our daughter, Melody, was crying. I found out that this was because I was very harsh on her when she was younger over the same issue. I was showing clear favoritism to Matthew. After that I have sought to minimize, if not destroy, favoritism (soon after that event I started the practice of 'dating' Melody to see films together and spend time with her and also equal time with my two boys).
Spend time eye to eye with your spouse early on,
Communicate in body, soul and spirit before the children come.
If not you will spend unequal time with your favorite,
And when the kids are gone you'll look at your spouse and say,
"Who is it?"
"Father, I pray you'd help me to communicate effectively with those dearest in my life and not to have favorites. Amen!"