Mothers and Fathers

Looking at little children who are playing mothers and fathers, is sometimes like looking into a mirror. They imitate what they see you do. Occasionally you are shocked by what you see and recognize, and you think “Do I really do that?”

When we are grown ups and mothers and fathers ourselves, we still imitate the behaviour of our parents. We almost can’t do anything else, because we are the result of our upbringing. We pass on what we are taught, complemented by a little insight of our own. And when you respond to your children you sometimes hear yourself as an echo of your own mother or father and you think two things: “Did I just do that?” and “Did I used to be like that?”

In addition to our earthly parents we also have a ‘Father who art in heaven’. Because of this sentence from the Lords prayer we have a divine Father, far away, only present on Sunday’s. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. This Father rules and wants to be obeyed. Just like we copy our earthly parents, we also copy our heavenly Father.

In the generation of my parents, the thirties, a distant and strict father wasn’t uncommon.

In my generation, the sixties, everything was questioned, the fatherly authority as well. If he couldn’t act ‘normal’, we wouldn’t listen. Being mothers and fathers in the sixties in Holland meant a free upbringing. Everything was allowed, just find out for yourself what suites you. Teenagers in those days decides for themselves what was good for them.

This kind of godless behaviour of course was firmly spoken against in church. Order, discipline and self-control collided hard with Flower Power.

And God the Father? He was traded in for Jesus. Long hair and sandals was more ‘in’, Jesus was cool and relaxed. He didn’t care for possessions and was making a road trip with a group of friends to propagate His message of peace. Jesus was the ultimate hippy the model of non-violent resistance against the established order. Jesus Christ, Superstar. You could meet Him in the coffee bars of the Jesus people and Youth for Christ where dedicated teenagers-with- guitars discussed how to live a radical life for Jesus.

That days generation are the now a days parents who are friends with their children. Authority is based on respect that has to be earned. You don’t say to your children they have to obey you because you are older and wiser but because what you want is in their best interest. When they will comprehend that, everything will be okay by itself. So you explain again why you think this or that is important.

God the Father is back again. He is the coaching God who will help you go through life. He has the overview, He knows what is best for you.

This is my God, my Father.

He no longer is far away, in the heavenlies, but He lives in me. His will isn’t a law I should implement on earth but a loving teaching for my own life. His kingdom is where Jesus is, where His body is, just not yet in full splendour.

God made us in His image, in His likeness. We try to imitate Him, to be like the Son. But I sometimes think we also make God in our own image. When in a certain era we think something is important, we not only adjust our way of upbringing but also our image of God.

It is good to realise that at the moment you think that we, in this day and age fortunately do understand.