Earlier today, I had a conversation with a client about their child who recently came out as gay.
This client shared some interesting thoughts that I wanted to elaborate on.
My client expressed their concerns about having certain expected hopes, dreams, and intentions for their child and their child’s future spouse and children that might never be realized and how difficult it was for my client to give up this way of thinking to fully accept their child for who they are as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
This client knows that they need to fully love their child even if they don’t completely support or understand the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s hard.
I can understand the confusion and disappointment this client is feeling.
The role of a parent is to LOVE their child unconditionally. But when a child makes decisions and follows paths that are contrary to what a parent believes to be right, it becomes difficult to express the same amount of unconditional love. It can quickly become conditional on the choices and outcomes of the child. Yet the role of the parent still remains: to LOVE their child unconditionally.
And I can also understand the hurt and potential hopelessness that this child might also be feeling as well.
Children want to be LOVED. Most especially they want the unconditional love and honest approval of their parents. They want to know that they are good enough. They want to know that they are special. They want to know that, no matter what awfulness life throws at them, their parents have their back.
I love the parable taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament about the Prodigal Son.
A man had two sons. The younger of the two sons asked his father for his inheritance and left home to go experience all that life has to offer. The other son remained at home working with his father. As time went on, the son ran out of his inheritance. He was left hungry, homeless, and alone. At his lowest point, he was eating slop with the pigs. Yet, he remembered that his father always made sure his staff were taken care of. So he chose to return home hoping that he could work for his father. As the young son came near his father’s home, his father rushed out to greet him, embracing him and kissing his cheeks. The father, then, celebrated the return of his son with a grand feast.
As I have thought over this client’s concerns about her child, I have been reminded of the father’s relationship with the Prodigal Son. Here was a father who’s son had squandered his fortune and left his family. Yet, when the son finally came home, he didn’t confront him or express his disappointments. Instead, he welcomed him home with a celebration.
Children may do many things that parents don’t understand or approve of. They may even unintentionally hurt their parents, but that should NEVER stop a parent from loving and supporting their child as long as their child is obeying the law and being a good person.
So to parents may have high expectations of their children that aren’t always what is right for their child. But children shouldn’t have to fear and worry that their parent’s won’t love them for who they are.
I wish all people knew this. There are too many individuals who can’t tell their parents or other family members that they are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, queer, etc. because of the reactions they will receive. They have to hide a major part of who they are – sometimes pretending to be different. This isn’t right.
All people, especially those living in America, should feel free to be who they are without fear, without judgement, without receiving dirty looks or being disowned. All people need to receive love unconditionally and without price.
I said it once in a news interview that unfortunately wasn’t aired, “Love is Love.” Love is unconditional. Love is hopeful. Love is healing. I hope you will soon set aside your differences of thought and opinion long enough to remember that love is the only way you will be able to find true healing and acceptance.