Tests of Parenting

Here is another quote from the “opening reflections” in Family Therapy. Again, these are readings on family from a Christian worldview. The quote is from On Being Family: A Social Theology of Family by Ray Anderson and Dennis Guernsey.  

Perhaps one of the greatest tests of parenting is the capacity to allow significant development and change in personality without breaking contact with the person being parented. A professional therapist must learn how to do this if the therapy is to be effective. But this is not a matter of professional training: it is actually a matter of love. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” wrote the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 13:7). Love “takes hold” of the other person without letting go, and thus frees the other from all other determinations…. The only mark left upon another person who becomes a free and whole person through parenting is the capacity to love. Because this mark is not an imprint of the personality of the one who parents in love, the significant link is the covenant that is remembered and kept. Not to forget one’s parents but rather to honor them is both the responsibility and the joy of one who has become free through parenting. (p. 65)

Update: We actually discussed this quote at the beginning of class today. The part that resonated with one student in particular was the line “But this is not a matter of professional training; it is a matter of love.” It is hard as a parent to “let go” as children get older. The authors want to say that the therapist has a similar task – to “let go” – to be in a relationship in which people grow and get better and move on. Someone once remarked that the role of the therapist is to work themselves out of a job.

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