Today my thoughts are on some of the profound changes I have made in my life. A large part of my adulthood has been spent recovering from my childhood. I arrived at adulthood feeling bad about myself, not happy with who I was and recognizing I needed to make changes, but not knowing how to do it. This week I am scheduled to meet with the mothers of preschoolers in Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania to share a message I have about the importance of deliberately engaging with young children. Engaging consciously with children is how you build a relationship with them, how you get to know them and how you learn who they are and what they have to offer the world. I had a calling a few years ago to go do this, to tell mothers that engaging with children when they are small is the way to help them know themselves, to help them see the gifts God has given them, and to help them take advantage of those gifts. I realized at one point in my life that my own parents had failed to do this and that I had arrived on the doorstep of adulthood hating myself and feeling everything I did was wrong and stupid and useless. I ended up in psychotherapy where the Socratic method is used. Socrates used questions as a way to help gain understanding. I asked myself whether I was satisfied with the way I was living my life, whether I liked what I’d done earlier that day, whether I liked my behavior in general, and whether I valued myself. It was a pretty long road and it was a whole lot of work but in the end it had a profound effect on me. When I meet with the mothers of preschoolers I am usually well-received because they want to be reminded of the value in the opportunity they have as parents, because of the fleeting chance we get to help our kids get to know themselves and love themselves.
I guess I wanted to find a way to take a not-so-great childhood and turn it into something else, you know, try to take my experience and use it to make the world a little better.