Graduation: The Real Story

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Just to give a follow-up on our oldest son’s graduation:

The day went extremely well. I was able to focus totally on Joshua and his accomplishments. He played keyboards for the homeschool graduates to sing “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin. Amazing moment to watch my son lead in worship, uninhibited and confident in himself and his God.

Tim and I were the last ones to present the diploma to our child and my comedian husband was funny as always. I was able to speak encouraging, life giving words to my son without completely falling apart. That was an accomplishment! God has given me the amazing gift of calm in the middle of difficult public situations (speaking and singing at my parents’ funerals, sharing my testimony and our adoption story in church, etc.) and Saturday was no different. I paid absolutely no attention to M at the reception or at the family get together at our house afterwards. It was wonderful! We were surrounded by friends and family and were blessed with a peaceful day.

Saturday I completely disconnected from M. Yesterday I was at it tweaking him to continue the journey towards an “aha” moment like S had. Where literally her entire thinking changed before my eyes. I still seek this moment with M but realize with every day’s passing the likelihood decreases. I’ve had him writing things down, ranking the “bad” things he believes he’s done (trying to figure out what he really sees as “bad”). He is so stuck on believing that if he is “good” enough everything will be fine. If he does more “good” than bad he will come out ahead. He wanted to write down all the “good” things he’s done so he could balance it all out. I can’t convince him that it’s about the relationship. One with God. One with us. We do not talk about bad and good kids in our home. He is stuck on this by his own belief system. I see in S the freedom she’s gained from laying her sins all out and truly seeking and receiving forgiveness. It changed her life.

I believe somehow M still has secrets he’s hiding that are a stronghold in his heart and an obstacle for him to God. He doesn’t want to make lists because he believes we won’t like him if he tells us everything. Unless he’s killed something, I don’t think there’s too much worse than what we already know. And have forgiven him for. I told him we don’t like him too much right now anyway, what does he have to lose? Of course, I followed that up with how much we love him and have shown him grace. Sounds ridiculous, but he wants to be liked more than he wants a family. I will not like the things he does for bad attention to push us away. It is not likeable. I will continue to love him regardless of what he does, who he is, or how he makes me feel. That is the beauty of unconditional love.

Our kids struggle so much with the issue of honesty and trustworthiness. M tells me that if he tells the truth he will be less trustworthy. What??  Somehow he believes that if he tells us the truth of the things he’s done we will really not trust him. No, I don’t trust him because he lies all the time. If only he could grasp the change in S and how much we trust her and believe her now that she has attached and works on the relationship.

So the real story is that graduation will be a positive memory for me and that is progress from Rachel’s graduation four years ago. At least now I know how to prepare my younger two, keep conversations about feelings at the forefront, and let go of therapeutic parenting for however long I need to. That’s success for all of us.

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  1. I’m so glad that your graduation went well. 🙂

    Your walk with M. is so very much like our R. … and your S. is like our S. We, too, pray for a breakthrough for R. We talk to her about how important relationships are … with us and with the Lord. But, she continues to push us away … and she pushes the Lord away, too. So sad.


    PS: I posted your story today.

  2. Something I have done with kids who could not confess to the things they really did, was have them practice making up bad things and telling me. We would do this at a time of my choosing when I could be sure to be regulated and able to deal with the junk. i could probe the feelings behind the “pretend” behaviors and help explore the potential “why” behind the “imaginary” stuff. And with the freedom and safety of “pretend,” some things that came out might be real things s/he did, or things that others did to him/her. In any case, role-playing like that seemed to help, somewhat, to see that even the most heinous acts could be forgivable.

    With one (adult) kid who lies nonstop, sometimes I would ask “what bad thing did you do today?” If he claimed no errors in behavior or judgment etc., I would change the subject (not praise him). If he confessed to something, I would be accepting – but not heap lots of praise for the confession, bcz it might be a lie and I didn’t want to praise him for making things up.

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