Shame and the Good News, Ministry of Reality Monday, July 26, 2010

I wish I could permanently eliminate shaming from my parenting.

When I say shame, I’m not talking about feeling guilt for wrong-doing or feeling ashamed by bad behavior… I’m talking about someone else shaming you. I know from personal experience how damaging and deeply hurtful shame is. If you reflect on your own childhood, no doubt you can think of one or two (or more 😦 ) incidents when you were shamed. Likely you still feel the profound shame of not measuring up or not being worthy of love that you felt in that situation 30 or 40 years ago.

One of my children is beautifully quirky and fun. Her outlook on life and unpredictable behavior are a constant source of joy and laughter. But this quirkiness also means that my reaction to her is all-too-often shaming. She is unconventional, so I sometimes find myself staring at her with deep confusion and a desire to make her more “socially acceptable.” Too often the unconscious mode I enter is “shame her into being more normal.” I hate it. As soon as I see the hurt in her eyes that my shaming has caused, my heart breaks and I want to flagellate myself for failing her again.

She is not perfect. She is a sinner. She needs Christ, but she doesn’t need shame heaped upon her by another sinner who also needs Christ… especially not about harmless, quirky behavior or age-appropriate, immature behavior.

Shame sends the message that behavior alone determines acceptance and love-ability.

Christ destroyed that paradigm. If I desire to live out the Good News, then shaming others has no place in my life.

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2 Responses to Shame and the Good News, Ministry of Reality Monday, July 26, 2010

  1. Wow. You daughter sounds a lot like mine. All to often I try to “shame her into being more normal.” Thanks for this, I will be thinking on it a lot this week as I interact with my daughter.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    *tears* I’m there with you…

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