This two and a half movie clip is about the questions many of us ask when we are abandoned, rejected, misunderstood or confused because of another person’s response to us. Particularly, when adult children address their parents about an issue they grew up questioning, the response is much like what we see in Clint Eastwood’s character. Years can go by with unspoken words but it doesn’t eradicate circumstances that silently shape how relationships react. I have seen countless times where an adult child mistreats their elderly parent and people onlooking are appalled. I let the Lord highlight the source and origin of mistreatment so I know how to pray for both parties. Often, children who act out in hostility are trying to gain back the control they never felt they had when younger. My experience has revealed that mistreatment, abuse, disapproval and accusation are often culprits that hold memory in place and fuel behavior that was modeled to them. Unlike the daughter in this clip who chooses to use her words as honest confrontation, others who sound spiteful and harsh are usually indicating lies they believe about themselves because of mistreatment from those they are lashing out on. I find that proving worth and striving for acceptance from a dissociated parent, has become a natural hope for children of all ages until the trauma of coming up empty handed has ended in bitterness.
I like that this movie clip was the beginning of more attempts for the daughter to open the doors of communication. Many have asked me how to honor their father or mother when they suffered under their parenting. I always point back to Our Heavenly Daddy’s ultimate understanding of why we each do what we do because He has always known us. With that, I encourage those who have toxic parents to pray for them from afar and understand that healing occurs at different times for each individual. Just because one may want a mom or dad to confide in doesn’t mean some are even capable. If an adult is really just trapped in a body that’s matured without healing the inner child, then your reasoning with a child in an adult body. Not everyone can reconcile but everyone can be forgiven. I think the daughter in this scene is extending forgiveness which the father receives further on in the movie, but too often reconciliation is sought by the child in hopes of filling the void that is a parents responsibility. Accepting that a parent may be living in denial is the first step toward forgiving him so that you can be set free from expecting him to suddenly give you what he cannot. The parent may have failed at being one, you may never have answers as to why he did the things he did or why he was absent, but being responsible for reconciliation is a lie as well. Those who have gone before us are expected to set the standard and hold the bar high, parenting is no different. Having a child is to entrust another living being into one’s safety for the sake of honoring the Lord. When people who lack love and acceptance of themselves procreate, they often expect their offspring to find their own way and in many instances come back to parent them.
In a world where owning your mistakes has become futile, the best thing a child of any age can do is take the lessons of what not to do based on your childhood experience and ask your Father in Heaven how He would have you parent. Some of you may not have your own children but their is an influx of orphans and unwanted children that need you to stand in the gap for their emotional development and adult well being. Loving even those who have hurt becomes easy once we know it wasn’t our fault that they couldn’t.