I’m not big on computer games personally. But my eldest son, Sam, is an absolute crackerjack at them. It’s a point of tension in our relationship. I don’t think he ought to spend so much time there, and he thinks he’s not given enough. Though I try to hide my distaste because I know how much he loves playing Off Road Fury and Delta Force, it’s pretty obvious when I never play with him. Just yesterday Sam said to me, “You and Mom don’t like computer games, so I feel like you don’t like me.” Ouch. I missed a part of his glory, shamed a part of his heart. How many an artist has been crushed in a family that prefers a “rational” approach to life? How many an engineer dismissed by a family of musicians? How many of us are lost in life simply because no one in our early world saw our glory and affirmed it?
“How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?” (Ps. 4:2). These blows aren’t random or incidental. They strike directly at some part of the heart, turn the very thing God created to be a source of celebration into a source of shame. And so you can at least begin to discover your glory by looking more closely at what you were shamed for. Look at what’s been assaulted, used, abused. As Bernard of Clairvaux declared, “Through the heart’s wound, I see its secret.”
Let me put it this way: What has life taught you about your God—given glory? What have you believed about your heart over the years? “That it’s not worth anyone’s time,” said a woman whose parents were too busy to really want to know her. “That it’s weak,” confided a friend. He suffered several emasculating blows as a boy, and his father simply shamed him for it. “That I shouldn’t trust it to anyone.” “That it’s selfish and self-centered.” “That it’s bad.” And you … what have you believed?
Those accusations you heard growing up, those core convictions that formed about your heart, will remain down there until someone comes to dislodge them, run them out of Dodge.
-John Eldredge. Waking the Dead. pg 118
I read this the other day and it really stuck with me. As parents it’s so easy to be dismissive of whatever new fad your kid is into. As leaders, too.
It bothers me when leaders shame kids for being kids. I just spent a week with 6th graders at summer camp. I love that they are goofy and hyper-active and loud and messy. One day they won’t be but that’s what 6th grade is for. My small groups were short and distracted. That’s ok. I refuse to shame little kids for acting like little kids. They only get this season and this time once and the entire world will do plenty of shaming and crushing of all of their hopes and dreams. May it never be said of me that I participated.