Sometimes the Lord speaks to me through our many, many books. We go to used bookstores and buy books cheap. I think a musty old book smells wonderful. The one I picked up the other day is ‘The key to your childs heart’ by Gary Smalley. We bought it at McKays for .75 cents. (the price tag was still on it.) Im almost done with it-Gary Smalley is a good storyteller. I like when in parenting books, we get to read real life situations. Its also good when the author has adult children that actually still likes them or have a little good fruit to show for all their ‘wisdom’. 🙂
The author opens the book up with the thoughts of how a spirit can be closed. How things can happen that close a spirit, or we as parents can do something that closes our child’s spirit. I have seen this happen in Bradley, at the cause of me and as Smalley described it, I have felt it happen to me as well.
Smalley talks about being a child swimming in the ocean and would observe sea anemones. They have soft, wavy tentacles and look so beautiful. But as a boy, he would sometimes take a stick and poke at them. The anemone would always withdraw its sensitive tentacles and close up until it became a shell to be protected from further injury. He relates this to the human spirit when we become offended. The anemone at first was completely open and vulnerable. But something happened and it became closed up and withdrawn.
He then goes into ways to notice when your child’s spirit is closing. Body language and resistance to conversation. He may argue, or become withdrawn. He may not be responsive to affection or seek things opposite to what your values are to upset you.
After noticing the symptoms of an closed spirit in your child, he talked about ways this can happen in marriages, in dating, in friendships, in life. How we can be offending and not even realize it is hurting someone. We need to realize we are doing this and attempt to resolve it or the spirit can become like a cement wall closed up as these offenses pile on top of each other closing off the spirit completely.
Five ways to re-open a spirit: (you’ll have to get the book, as these methods are a chapter in themselves.)
- Become tenderhearted.
- Increase understanding.
- Recognize the offense.
- Attempt to touch.
- Seek forgiveness.
“True restoration is confession of wrong plus forgiveness granted.” I liked that quote because it requires both parties to act. And how we all at some time will be the one confessing, or the one granting. We may have hurt our child, or someone more than we realize. This will take time and possibly going over these 5 steps multiple times to completely reconcile. Becoming soft, understanding and admitting we are wrong is completely necessary. Persevere until we can touch and seek forgiveness. This may take time.
I really enjoyed these chapters in the book. I have been an offender and I have been offended. Neither of them is a good feeling. Mostly whats helping me, is to realize how tender the human spirit is and how it needs to be treated with kindness, tenderness and love. I dont want to raise children who have closed spirits and I dont want to be closing the spirits of my friends or those around me, unknowingly.
Help us, Lord. Those of us with closed spirits and those of us who have the sticks in our hands and are poking others causing them to close up. We need you.