When life gets busy little things, and little children, can be overlooked. When parent's don't care as they should the pain can last a lifetime. As a child who was abused and neglected I have experienced this firsthand.
As a child my greatest love was baseball. It consumed my passion and my attention. I practiced with my brother for hours and played with neighborhood kids whenever I could. I read baseball books, collected baseball cards and watched the game of the week on TV every Saturday. In spite of my passion and interest I was only allowed to play one season of Little League baseball. Although my mother was a stay-at-home mom she considered taking us to practice too much of a chore. What was important to me did not matter at all to my parents.
While my childhood was characterized by significant verbal and physical abuse the pain of not playing baseball hurt the most and the longest. Beatings hurt for a short while and bruises faded but knowing my parents didn’t care about my heart brought a pain that endured for years.
While the feelings of a child were irrelevant in my family they were treasured in my wife’s. Through her I learned how important little things can be to a child. She taught me the value of listening to their music, watching their TV shows and playing their games, that when I valued their interests I valued them.
Over the years I have learned that caring about feelings and paying attention to the hearts of others is a Biblical value, one that was modeled by Jesus. He showed His love in the way He dealt with the silly fears and foolish failures of His followers and in the tender way He welcomed children and reached out to those in need.
Learning to love in this way has been a challenge for me. Overcoming the callousness and selfishness that I learned at home has required conscious effort. The brokenness of my parents was passed on to me and I am not naturally compassionate and caring. I am eternally grateful to God for loving me enough to help me change.
I share in detail about my childhood story and my life-long struggle to overcome in the third part of the series on Broken Thinking that is available on my vimeo page. Go to www.vimeo.com/bartbarrett and you can view it, and the other messages in the series online. You can go directly to the message on the importance of caring by clicking here.
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