family

my mom sent me this in an e-mail last week:

Thursday night Todd & Lisa asked us to eat dinner with them so when Chloe was almost done, she said “Gee, I need to hurry and get done so I can go outside to scream!” She told me she uses her inside voice in the house so she has to scream outside. As soon as she was done, she ran and opened the patio door, ran to the edge of the bricks and screamed at the top of her lungs! Then she said “I like to scream.”

ok, first of all, my neice is the funniest kid ever. but, second, i thought that letting chloe have a place where she can scream is a pretty inspired bit of parenting on the part of my brother and his wife. chloe is a very active, very verbal kid. she doesn’t stop talking from the moment she gets up until she goes to sleep. she noticies everything and comments on it. she runs around in circles and sings songs. she’s always going. apparently, she has discovered that she also likes to scream.

i love that she is in an environment that she is allowed to figure out who she is, be loved and valued for who she is and then be shown how to function successfully as herself. obviously, she can’t succumb to her desire to scream in all places at all times, but she’s been given an appropriate way to be herself, and i think that’s going to make her a better person.

i think that’s yet another picture of how God created families (all kinds of families, but that’s another conversation) to give us all places to learn to be ourselves and find our place in the kingdom. oh my gosh – i just realized that there’s a point at which i could actually agree with the religious right. alert the media. i do think that the enemy works specifically to short circuit the family system. however, here’s where our agreement sadly comes to an end. i have a broader definition of family (again, not going into that here) but i think that we need to work, not to keep people from forming new families but teaching people to be better families.

it’s an interesting social phenomenon that when we move someoner else or grew up in a place where we have no stong biological family, we create new families, and we call them families. we know that we need that, and so we make it. we find circles of relationships in which we can love and encourage and be loved and encouraged and become the best version of ourselves.

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