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The Gap Trap
by Patricia Ouellette
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I remember many years ago thinking my parents must be aliens. They never seemed to understand me, or what I was doing with my life. Nothing I did seemed to match up to their expectations. When I needed to talk to them about something important to me, they always seemed to be too busy.

Now that I am a parent myself, I find it is my own children who think that I am an alien. It hurts, knowing that your child feels that you are some unapproachable being from another planet.

As a child and teen my parents and I were on different sides of a huge gap, and it is the same now with my children. It is like having my kids on one side of a wide gap and me on the other. With a huge mousetrap in the middle, just waiting to snap us up. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt in my heart, the snap of that trap whipping down on me. Many call this “The Generation Gap”. I call it “The Gap Trap”.

I wish I could say I have resolved the problem with my relationships with my children. I can’t. I can say that we are trying to resolve it together, with the help of the Lord. I also know that my family is not the only one that is facing this horrid gap trap.

In all relationships, not just the ones we have with our children it takes both sides to make it work. Nothing can be successfully achieved with only one person doing all the work in any relationship.

In our relationship with Christ, he made the first move so to speak. Christ has shown us the way. It is up to us to put in the effort to keep the relationship flowing freely. It will not work if we leave all the effort to Christ and do nothing for that relationship ourselves.

A marriage will never succeed if both husband and wife do not put in an effort to make that marriage work. Come to agreements through compromising and communicating our true emotions, thoughts and needs. Spending quality time together and never being to busy to for each other.

It is no different with our children. We need to put in an effort to make sure the communication and understanding levels are a positive growth factor in our children’s lives as well as our own. We may be adults, but we are still growing just like our kids. When we stop growing, that is when we die.

Consider our relationship with God; it is beautiful isn’t it? He always has time for us. He listens to our every word. He is never too busy to spend a moment of unity with us. Oh and the best one of all, He never argues with us. He just tells us what is right and what we need to do, but He never argues with us.

We can talk to Him about everything. We never have to be concerned about finding the right time to speak to Him. Or, evaluating His mood to see if we are going to get the response we want or need. We can argue with Him all we want, it isn’t going to do us any good, because He will never respond to our arguments.

Arguing is great instigator in widening the gap. So many parents will stand and argue with their children, mostly out of sheer frustration, but it doesn’t serve any purpose other than destroying any credibility in our authority as parents. God won’t argue with his children, so why are we arguing with ours?

How many of us have been witnesses or even been participants in a one sided argument? It is so dissatisfying. Doesn’t it just bug you when you are arguing and the other person just stands there smiling? Then when you think your fuse is about to come to its end, they simply say, “I love you”. My husband does that to me all the time. He should be in bomb disposal, because he has that knack of disarming me, and he does the same with our kids. They have stopped arguing with him and only argue with me, because I have been known to regularly fall and argue back.

God created a bridge between Himself and us. We see the cross of Christ’s crucifixion as the bridge that covers the gap between God and ourselves. We walk that bridge everyday as we grow and walk with Him.

That same bridge can be used to get across that gap between kids and parents. The name of that bridge is called “God’s Love”.

If we want to bridge this gap between our children and ourselves, we need to take a leaf out of God’s book. Apply His ways of child rearing. As hard as it is, we have to stop saying “not now I am busy”. Nothing we are doing is more important than our kids. We also need to stop arguing with our children. I know I tend to talk too much. My husband has shown me that you speak once and if the other party argues, you just lovingly stand your ground in silence. Then re-enforce your initial stance once the situation is disarmed.

We can’t blame past generations, society, politicians or do-gooders for the problems we have with our children. Nor can we blame them for the lack of social and personal morality in our society. Ultimately, it all lies squarely at our own doorstep. God has already given us the solution. He has the handbook already written. We need to get into it and take notice of God’s example. God has reared us by example; shown us how to raise our kids. He has placed each of us as His most important focus and that is what we need to do with our kids.

When we as parents get into parenting God’s way, then in time and with a lot of Godly love we can make this concept of ‘The Generation Gap’ a myth.

We only have our kids for a very short time; it is an important time for both of us, a time when we can grow together in love and friendship. A sound relationship that will last for eternity, with methods that can be past on from generation to generation.

By Patricia Ouellette
Copyright World Wide 2004

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