Several conversations have led me to this post. Conversations with my husband, with friends, and online conversations. And this post comes as a result of looking at some of our children and seeing NO payoff for years of investment. I know there are many of you who are screaming BTDT (been there done that).
So why do I keep giving to kids who:
a) have never given back;
b) may never have the capacity to give back;
c) not only don't give back, but cause harm to me, my possessions, and my other children;
d) have been or are being hateful, rude and mean;
e) may never change.
Giving benefits the giver when it is done with expectation of nothing in return. I am a much, much better person as a result of my years of loving those who don't return my love.
I understand a lot more what God's love is because I have chosen to give to kids who can't give back. There is great fulfillment in knowing that I have been able to make myself do hard things. There is joy in overcoming the struggles.
I think of some of my friends who are parenting children with severe physical challenges or severe mental retardation. They are considered noble for caring for kids who can't give much back and they don't expect the kids to give much in return. I think they would tell you that they do receive things back, but I wonder to myself why I expect my kids with moderate or severe emotional and behavioral challenges to be able to return my love?
Parenting, in any form, is a selfless act. But if I go into it expecting to receive.... that's my first error.
I give because it is the right thing to do. I love because God has called me to love. I do it again each day because it is what I need to do.
And on the days when I get a little back, that's great. But I am beginning to believe that the perpetual task of loving the unloving and giving to takers is creating a better me.
So I'm going to do it again today. And so will you.