How Old do they Act?

One way of handling stressful family members is to assess how old they act.

For instance my father was baptized when he was eleven years old. He has never questioned his commitment to the church he was baptized into. He has the social skills of an eleven year old. In some ways he has more patience and perseverance than an eleven year old, but in other ways he loses his temper like an eleven year old, and thinks in extreme black and white categories like an eleven year old.

I remember in 1968 when the front page article of the newspaper was about Viet Nam my father was angry because “we have enough fire power to blow them off the map. I don’t know why we don’t just blow them off the map.” A simple approach to a complex problem: black and white thinking, about the level of an eleven year old.

When I think of my father as a preacher and a father-figure his anger and judgments are terrifying or at the least depressing. But when I think of my father as an immature eleven year old his pronouncements, judgments, and sneers don’t seem as important to me. The hardest task for children of sectarian parents is to accept the real level of immaturity in their parents.

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About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
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