Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pride and prejudice?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” - Phil. 2:3

Pride plus parenting equals difficulty. Of course, pride plus anything equals difficulty. Pride simply doesn't mix well with anything. Pride is having too high an opinion of myself and always regards me as more important than those around me. It is selfish, conceited and demanding. Pride always has a slanted, negative view of others- even our own teenager.

I’m reminded of another of my favorite Andy Griffith episodes about Opie. When local do-gooder Anabelle Silby reveals to Andy that Opie contributed only three cents to a fund raising drive, Andy lectures Opie on the value of charitable giving. Andy and Opie have the classic “Poor Horatio” conversation. A short time later he meets Tom Silby, Anabelle's husband, on the street. Andy rushes Tom into the office and out of public view - explaining that as far as he and the rest of Mayberry are concerned, Tom is dead, run over by a Taxi in Charlottesville.

Tom reveals that he wasn't killed, but simply had enough of Anabelle's prideful ways and left her. Rather than admit she lost her husband, Anabelle pretended that Tom had been killed and had an empty casket buried in the Mayberry Cemetery! After visiting his grave, Andy convinces Tom to go home to Anabelle and patch things up. Back at home, Andy tries again to convince Opie to give more than three cents to the children's fund.

When Opie refuses because he's saving his money to buy his girlfriend Charlotte something, Andy assumes he's going to squander it on toys and calls him a playboy, sending Opie off to his room without supper. Aunt Bee then confronts Andy, lecturing him about suffering from the same foolish pride that led Anabelle Silby to have her absent husband buried. Andy concedes the error of his ways and decides to let the matter drop. It's then that Opie reveals he's been saving his money to buy Charlotte a new coat because her family is poor and can't afford one - showing Andy that his own pride had gotten the better of him.

Of course, pride always takes away the “better” of us. True love “believes all things,” but pride demands it’s way and usually is critical and judgmental. If Andy had handled Opie with a humble heart, he’d have opened the door for Opie to communicate where his money was going in the first place. Pride always jumps to pre-conceived notions and is usually prejudiced toward others and their motives. Humility is accepting, patient and understanding.

Pray for a humble heart in your dealings with your teen. When you’re frustrated that your teen’s plans aren’t fitting your agenda, do a pride check and remind yourself that it’s their life, not yours. Put on an attitude of humility and make your teen more important than your plans for them.

Believe the best and, in the end, your teen just might surprise you. And even if everything doesn't end perfectly like most Andy episodes, trusting your teen will help produce confidence and trust.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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