You know how our brains work. One little dendrite developed by some circumstance in our individual lives reaches out to connect with another in our unique lives. The connection I made the other day is going to seem odd but it comes out of the neuronal activity developed through my life circumstances in my particular brain. I was reading the April 2018 copy of The Atlantic. I too was surprised how dated it was but it was hardcopy from the library if that is an explanation. The article is titled “The Last Temptation” and is by a thorough going Evangelical, Michael Gerson. He was raised evangelical and seems to be a spokesperson of respect. In this article he is trying to explain why evangelicals have supported the American president (in case there is someone out there who is uncertain), DJ Trump, suggesting that in doing so they have lost their way. On page 48,he argues that evangelicals “lack an organizing theory of social action….” In comparison, Catholics, whether they always follow through or not, have a needed theory. This theory “…acts as an ‘if, then’ requirement….” He then goes on to explain. If Catholics say they are “pro-life on abortion, then [they] have to oppose the dehumanization of migrants [as well].” If their theory of social action is to be pro-life, it must be pro-life across the board.
And what has this to do with parenting an adoptee, you ask?
Remember how individual neuronal development is. My neurons are a rather thick mass when it comes to things having to do with my son. One of the struggles I have had with how things are going with Yasik has to do with how we handled his rebellion. Were we too soft? Were we wishy washy? Were we too harsh? Were we inflexible? The phrase ‘if, then’ resonated with me. If we have had an operating principle with Yasik since our relationship with him went sideways, it was that we would support what we believed to be healthy life choices. We would not support the unhealthy. That meant that if he chose to go to soccer on a school night, then we would drive him. If he chose to go out on a school night to hang out with people who were doing drugs, then he would have to find his own way home. If you agree or do this, then we will follow through and do what we felt (rightly or wrongly).
Of course a moment later all the other arguments swimming around in my brain shake off sleepiness and begin to hawk their wares. What about the danger of leaving an immature teen out on his own at night in a sketchy situation? What does the refusal to help say to someone who started life with at best a shaky sense of attachment?
Yes there are complexities and the strident questions they shout back at my attempt to reconcile the choices we made refuse to be ignored but there is also some rightness as well to the simple little truism,’ Follow through’. In a moment of uncertainty that demands an immediate response, this one is easy enough to be at the ready.