The Perfect Parent

My youngest son is four years old and he has big feelings that change…shall we say…abruptly. One minute it’s smiles and giggles and squeals…the next it’s anger or tears or resentment. He is still learning not to allow his feelings control him. Not too long ago, he was trying to get me to come play with him. I told him I was busy with a task and needed to finish what I was doing first. Hurt by my inability to immediately drop everything to give him my full attention, he climbed up into his bed on the top bunk, pulled the covers over his head, and turned his back to me. When I crawled up with him to try to make repair, he wasn’t having it. Unable to articulate the sense of rejection and loneliness he felt when I didn’t attune right away, he angrily and through tears said, “you never play with me!” and ducked back under the covers. For about five minutes I tried to heal the connection. I attempted to snuggle him, whisper words of love, apologize, but none of it worked. At a loss, I finally began to give him options.

“Do you want me to stay with you?”


“Do you want me to give you some alone time?”


“What do you want, son?”

He was quiet for a long time and finally whispered, “I want you to go down and stay in the bottom bunk. I want you close but not too close.”

How often do we feel that ambivalent towards  others? We can love big and feel big feelings, but when we feel rejected or let down by someone else, fear and resentment can kick in and tell us we must pull back and hide. The sting of rejection makes us want to run from connection, and even an attempt at repair can feel too scary to trust.

The good news is that in God we have a perfect Parent, one who is always completely attuned to us, available for us, and has the capacity to meet needs we don’t even know we have. He never makes us feel as though He is too busy for us. On the contrary, it is His delight to spend time with us, and He is only ever immediately ready and genuinely overjoyed to engage with us. He also offers complete patience and grace to us when we find ourselves conflicted about connecting with Him. Perhaps hard trials or unfair circumstances in our lives have caused us to distrust Him, and we find ourselves rejecting His pursuit or not believing His words of love. Even then, He is patient with us, never abandoning us though we try to push Him away, but also never forcing Himself on us. We can say to Him, “I want you close…but not too close”, and He will patiently stay close by, comforting us with His presence without putting pressure or guilt on us. I imagine Him smiling, sitting on that bottom bunk saying, “I’m right here…whenever you’re ready”.

By Chelsea Wisley