” When I taught in public schools I frequently developed opinions about why “challenging children” behaved poorly. More often than not I blamed their parents. I held the self-righteous notion that I worked hard to raise happy, well- rounded children and that if other parents took their responsibilities seriously and parented effectively, their children would be fine. Boy was I getting mine, living with a mentally ill teen, spending lots of time in the psychiatrist’s waiting room, and thoroughly researching the topic chipped away at my arrogance and ignorance.
I began to change.” ~Kate McLaughlin
The excerpt above is from the book, Mommy I’m Still In Here- One Family’s Journey with Bipolar Disease. I can’t express how grateful I am for the courage of this author. Because without her bravery in this season and a number of others who have courageously shared their stories, I would feel alone and hopeless. I don’t have the courage, energy or wherewithal to write about our current journey. It’s too painful, close and unfinished.
This one statement should be read by every parent on the face of the planet. Christian and non. Because the biggest problem I see from where I am standing is expressed extremely well right there.
I can’t tell you the extent of the damage from those who don’t get it. I can only tell you that there is an incomprehensible gap between the way things are and the way things should be about the attitudes of both with regard to mental health.
I can’t tell you how much hurtful advice, presumptuous (and wrong) conclusions, and rude comments we’ve suffered. How many “arm-chair” assessments from strangers and others.
I guess I could tell you all of these, but instead I’ll share just one incident.
When a child looks at a parent and says, “I wish I had a physical disease”, because they perceive the difference in the way Mental Health is perceived, by others-that says a lot.
I can only pray that there will be change.
There needs to be a change.
Are you willing to change?
“Things do not change; we change.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.” Luke 4:27
Jesus, you never abandon your children. You reached out continuously to those who rejected you, even while needing your touch. You did not keep your distance, from lepers, although the very religious did. Help us to walk with those who are wounded, even while they may reject us. Let us not abandon them, though we grow weary with that which we don’t understand. Help us to be willing to look at areas where we may need to change, and by your grace, mercy and power change us. Thank you that you are our Great Physician, Name Above All Names, and Almighty God. Amen.