Today’s Daily Wisdom Dose, from Proverbs 1:8-9:
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching;
A graceful diadem will they be for your head; a torque for your neck.
This may be difficult for those of who have had problematic relations with parents. (Mine were OK. No complaints. Not perfect, but everything worked out.) So for those who regard the very idea of respecting your parent’s instructions and advice to be difficult, if not impossible, read on. Other male and female iconic figures in your life can be picked to serve as “parents”, if needed.
Aside from a being a follow-up to the Commandment on “Honor your Father and Mother” this can be considered a plea for respecting legitimate authority. Parents are the first authority figures in a child’s life, and perhaps their relationship with parents form the basis for their relationship with authority overall. Perhaps a generalization, but how parents exercised their authority determines a child’s attitude toward authority later on.
We alcoholics notoriously have a challenged relationship with authority. In our recovery from alcohol, we can no longer use the excuses of a childhood environment to defy authority or run from it. In our recovery from alcohol, we now have an obligation to govern our lives with responsibility. One of the positive outcomes of the 12 Steps is that it allows us to clean up the wreckage of our past, or at least come to terms with it. One of the marks of our responsible living, if it is still possible, feasible, and necessary, is to repair and rebuild our relationships with the parents. Once they die, it is too late. Once gone, the opportunity is forever lost.
The Fourth Step involves the individual making a “fearless and searching moral inventory”. This is identifying those areas of the past that need to be cleaned up. This is what we did wrong, and now we are going to redress it. Even when we were wronged, we analyze the events to determine what, if anything, we might have done to contribute to the situation. This is personal responsibility, we committed serious wrongs (“sins”) in the past and now we shall try and clean those up. Later on in the steps, (The Ninth) we make our amends to those we have wronged.
Granted, by the time we are old enough to make these amends to parents, we may be well past the age where we need instruction and advice from them. (Personally, I don’t think anyone is ever too old for this.) Nevertheless, we do have the Commandment to “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother”, and if repairing and restoring a relationship with ones’ parents puts us in accord with that Commandment, then we are showing our willingness to carry out God’s will in our lives. We are also restoring a more balanced relationship with authority, or at least legitimate authority that exercises its power with due consideration for the rights and privilege of those under it’s purview.
The relationship with parents, if it can be restored, now opens up the promise of the passage from Proverbs. “A graceful diadem” will they be. A repaired relationship with parents is a major healing in an individuals life, so great an influence (for good or for bad) have parents had in early life that the promise of a more equitable and healthy relationship later in life may bring tremendous benefits.
Parents are the pillars upon which out life is built. They formed us. It is only right that a conscientious and sincere effort be made to repair the relationship with them. If possible.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"