To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
– C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“If you want to know how well you are doing as a parent, you can gently begin to ask that question when your kids turn 40. In the meantime, today, risk love.” They were generous words spoken to my soul by a wise guide years ago. Dan Allender is wise when he suggests that children really raise parents. Nothing in the world has the power to form us into loving parents like the steady act of parenting through the days and decades.
In How Children Raise Parents, Dan goes on to say, “We often realize that we learn as much from our children as they learn from us. So why don’t parents approach the task of child-rearing as a learning experience, rather than a mandate to make sure their kids succeed in life? To reduce the pressure and enjoy greater closeness in your family, turn your parenting upside-down by allowing God to use your children to help you grow up. Imagine what would happen if you began to prize what you’re being taught by your children’s quirks, failures, and normal childhood dilemmas, rather than worrying about whether you’re doing everything right as a parent.”
Friends, with a posture of joyfully embracing the “task of child-rearing as a learning experience,” we turn to part two of a conversation Cherie and I hosted with our mentor, counselor, and dear friend, Gary Unruh. His five decades of work with children and families have recovered some of the relational keys that can turn a catastrophe in relationship into a story that will bring us to tears with gratitude in decades to come.
In part one, we explored themes from Golden Rule Parenting.
In this episode, we dive into LIFT for Children – Love Infusing Fear Therapy. It’s practical, accessible, and a brilliant onramp to recapture the hearts of children and deepen any other relationship entrusted to your care. To love is to be vulnerable. Having faithful, wise guides like Gary can help us keep risking in love.
Let’s dive in.
For the Kingdom,
For Gary’s counseling services you can connect with him at GaryUnruhTherapy.com.