When parents give birth to a child, the child gives new birth to its parents.
The cry of the newborn, that little picture from the four-year old, the bouquet of flowers from the eight-year old, those messy scrambled eggs from the ten-year old, give the parents new life.
By responding to its parents’ love, the child honors its parents. The child goes beyond him or herself and into awareness of others. Their first responses are imitation and obedience. Gradually the child universalizes specific rules into the golden rule—do unto others. This is how we “leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.”
By responding to its parents’ love, the child honors its parents.
The picture, the flowers, the scrambled eggs symbolize the real gift. The real gift is the child’s desire to make his or her parents happy. And what the parents see is their child’s original mind taking its baby steps.
As children grow, they learn how to give their gifts to the world. The impulse to do so comes from the child’s desire to honor their parents. Love for parents sets the child’s compass and puts God’s wind in their sails. Children achieve success not just for themselves, but to honor their parents.
This brings the parents joy externally, as they participate in their child’s happiness. But parents also feel joy internally. Why? It is because they see their life continuing into the future through our children.
What we could not accomplish, our children accomplish. What we accomplished, our children develop. We live on in our child’s social, athletic, academic and economic achievements. We live on through their spiritual achievements. And, in substance, we live on in our child’s marriage and family.
In substance, we live on in our child’s marriage and family.
Our ultimate gift to our parents is our marriage. In marriage we lay down our life for another and, God willing, become a father, a mother. We affirm our parents’ love and extend their lineage. This is where we inherit the fullness of our parents’ heart, which is to inherit God’s heart. This heart survived the Fall and the Flood. This heart builds the kingdom.
The child’s heart grows into the realm of brother-sister love. And that’s where we all confront the greatest challenge.
(References: Heb 6:1. The photo is from “Home Is Fun,” http://www.home-is-fun.com/index.php?post/2013/12/How-to-Have-a-Happy-Birthday,-Christmas,-and-every-Gift-Exchange-2.)