I recently received an email from a man who shared a meaningful story about his now grown up son, he wrote…
” May I first congratulate you on your Joyful Parents website which provides an essential guide to one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. In these troubled times good parenting becomes even more important to help our children make and shape a better world in the future and any contribution towards that aim deserves more than encouragement.”
He then went on to share his story, how he and his wife had a now grown-up family and “we had almost completed our job as parents and were looking forward to grandchildren and a little babysitting to make our lives complete”
He describes his family as close-knit and together, very caring of each other and yet several years ago, just before Christmas in the early hours of the morning he received a phone call from the Police. His son had committed a crime. He has been in prison ever since.
The shock, the turmoil, the waking up to the fact that their son, with a university degree and of good upstanding character had somehow got involved in criminal activities was extremely hard for them. What the crime was, how the story took hold is not important for the essence of this story is ultimately one about connection. About staying close to your children no matter what. Try as they could, they looked for where they had gone wrong, if they had missed the clues and somehow could have prevented him from breaking the law.
“Maybe the lesson to be learnt from this by no means unique tale is complacency – never assume everything is ticking along nicely, ignorance continues to be our enemy – none of our family had the remotest idea of what he was doing before he was arrested, we have all of us, analysed and scrutinised the events prior but have been unsuccessful in finding any clues.”
However, again they steadfastly stand by their son.
“When he is finally released we will all help him to rebuild his life.”
And will continue to parent him which is to support him, to love him, to forgive him and to help him re-enter into life after being in prison.
“None of this matters now,we have to look to the future in a positive manner and find even more resolve and parenting skills for the hurdles to come.”
I wanted to share this as a story of Joyful Parents – a story that could be tragic, and yet the threads of hope and love and forgiveness shine strongly. I asked the gentleman who wrote to me if I could publish this on my blog and with his blessings I do so. For me my commitment as a parent is to keep learning and remain a student of unconditional love. Loving a son who grows up to be an adult man who makes choices that end up with him in prison, this is another opportunity to experience deep love and forgiveness… which is what I believe this family has done.