Practicing with Children


20090414213535_2009_04_04_flyinghomeeastercity 116_800x600–By Matt Clingan

I’m not a usual writer for Practicing Families, so writing something takes on a bit of anxiety.  I’m not exactly sure how to do this. So this is the fourth essay I have written.   The first was way too personal. The second was obscure and off topic. The third was a rant and just too plain cranky.

The truth is that I keep coming back to a word.


I am still struggling, like Joanna struggled last week with her essay Thoughts on Tragedy.  I want to write about something else.  I want to discuss philosophy, family. God.  I want to talk about my life; my ideas; my dreams.

But I can’t.

It’s not like there haven’t been other mass shootings. I should be able to move on; to stop thinking about it; to stop dwelling on it. But it isn’t happening.

This morning I saw a fawn dead on the side of the road. I cried.  It’s not fair that something died so young and so full of life.

I want to apologize to the LGBTQ community for the fear that you have re-discovered after forgetting for a while that people hate you for something you didn’t choose.

I want to apologize to the kid still in the closet because (s)he is afraid to get beaten up at school, ostracized by family members, told that they are a sinner, talked about, taken to therapy….all for things that they didn’t chose; all for feelings that that they didn’t make up.

I want to hug every gay person I know.

I want to kiss the forehead and listen to the child in elementary school that knows on some level that they are different, like Mr. Xorje Olivares knew, and tell them that it is going to be ok…and hope and pray that it is.

I want to say that I’m sorry to the LGBTQ community for the way that many religious people choose the legalized view of the scriptures instead of understanding the intent of God; the intent of Christ; the Christ who came to show how silly and ungodly the rules of the religious leaders are. Christ came to exchange those rules for the inseparable love of God.

I want to tell the parent that is afraid that their child might be gay that it is ok.  Listen to your child. Sit with them in their struggle. You don’t have to know the answers. God will give those answers to your child. God will give those answers to you. Breathe and focus on today.

Parenting takes bravery.  It takes a bravery that none of us parents have until we have to have it. My parents don’t agree with my views politically or spiritually.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for a parent to watch their child choose a different path; to watch their child choose a different view of God; to watch their child make choices that contrast with their view of God.  Regardless of our differences, my parents are the most Christ-like people I know. That will never change.

I want to apologize to the fawn.  This current world isn’t made to support who you are and I don’t know how to make it work.  I don’t know how to stop the cars.  I don’t know how to protect you from the harshness of the world.

The truth.

The fawn still had her spots.

And those 50 people, including the shooter, need to find a way into your heart.  God is knocking on your door with 50 people who all need to be understood and loved.  Please let them in.

They are waiting.


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