We've all been there. Of course, it never starts there. It's like a storm. And like any storm, it begins with unsuspecting, white puffy clouds. An unclean room. An outside door left wide open. Muddy tracks on the carpet. An attitudinal sigh. Add warnings. Add mouth. Add typical parental stress. And all of a sudden, walla-- "Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very, frightening...". You're in Beserkdom. "Galileo!" (we'll get to him later)
You know you've been there after you've left. The storm has passed. Damage done. You're bewildered. Who was that? Was that really me? Of course, some of the clouds are still lingering. I'm going to drop-kick that kid! Sigh.
While I do think God gave us volume modulation for a reason, I don't think there's ever a reason to go beserk. Where now?
First, let's start with the positive. In a society where many think themselves the center of the moral universe, there's nothing like a trip to Beserkdom to bring us back to reality.
Like any other road, the road of life has definite boundaries. These are meant to keep us whole and safe. Going outside of them results in a crash. Beserkdom is a crash. It ought to remind us that we went outside concrete boundaries. It ought to awaken us to awareness that our inner navigation is off, that there's stuff in our own lives in need of healing, in need of transformation.
When we think of ourselves we should think of a cross. We are both spirit and body. Note the intersection of the vertical (spiritual) and the horizontal (human).
The vertical (spiritual) realm is our "core," consisting of our interior attitudes, thoughts, emotions and feelings. Enter Galileo. These are like planets that are rightly ordered when they move about a center, a sun. Beserk happens because this goes haywire. It happens when we've forgotten who we are. It happens when the Son summarily disappears and all the planets collide. Thus, at heart needs to be an awareness of who we are, made in the image of God, fashioned for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
And if we're truly attuned to who we are, we'll recognize our need to cooperate on the horizontal (human). We have to do our work. We need to recognize the clouds, and be mindful of the succession of steps that pave the way to Beserkdom.
Often hindsight is helpful. Think of the last time you went beserk and consider, "How could I have recognized it coming? How might I have dealt with that differently?" If in a stress-free space of calm and reason we can imagine averting Beserkdom, the answer is to make sure we have that space of calm and reason when we see potential beserk clouds on the horizon.
A human understanding goes a long way.
I have to remember the learning and discovery process, particularly at a pre-teen age. I'm mindful that even as adults we're all on a road we didn't define. The rules of the road we really can't break, only be broken by.
In the grand scheme, we're all children navigating together. In the grand scheme, our children need more than words, they need our exemplification. Going beserk is being a victim. They need us to show them that circumstances where many may choose to be a victim are an occasion to be victorious. There's nothing more powerful here than a humble, sincere expression of sorrow, followed by an apology- asking them to pray for you, inviting them to journey together.
As parents Steph and I are aware of both the challenge and joy in our call to foster good, healthy, respectful conversation in navigating this journey. We desire to validate their capacity to conscientiously think and make decisions... to become aware of "the road" - especially at difficult times and about difficult things in a way that unites us in truth.
We're mindful that using words is not necessarily communication. Communication literally means "with union." It is measured by the degree to which we become one. Against this understanding, going beserk is an oxymoron. It is "communication" that destroys unity.
We ought to be informed by our childhood experience of parents. We have experienced (directly or indirectly) what happens when parents pass along their wounds - through bitter avoidance, heavy-handedness, passive-aggressiveness, not mindful that these fester and diminish relationships. We're mindful that hurting people hurt people. We don't need to form hurting people, but healing people. We don't need to enable victims, but ennoble the victorious.
Our kids, like us - need to know and understand that we are not the center of the universe. The road of life does not change it's shape for us. We do not define it, it defines us. In honorable and honor-worthy things- even if not completely understood, even if not easy- a "yes Dad" disposition is a building block for success in this world and the next - as it is for us in our relationship to God: "Yes Dad."
It's not about us. It's ultimately not between them and us. It's the mission of St. John the Baptist: "I must decrease, He must increase." It's the mission of Mary: "Do whatever He tells you."
I post this publicly in hope and prayer that we increasingly become a culture of Godly parents-- humbly by courageously engaged in the journey, loving not simply our children, but all children-- that we are conscious of this highest call... and join one another in raising up children who are fully alive in knowledge of their identity, purpose and mission.