In watching the first few shows of this season, I have been incredibly affected by comments made by two of the contestants. Both of them were teenagers, one girl and one boy. Their common comment which I simply cannot get out of my head was about how they have never before felt that one of their parents was proud of them. In the case of the girl, it was her dad and in the case of the boy, it was his mom who had never said those simple words – “I am proud of you.”
With both of these teenagers, when they made it through the auditions and their parents finally told them that they were proud of them, it was as if the sun had turned on for the first time in their lives. They reiterated that never before had they heard those words from that particular parent. It broke my heart to hear them say that. I wonder – did it break the parent’s heart to watch this played out on television?
I am not sure that, as adults, any of us really remember our parents telling us that they were proud of us. I do not remember ever hearing those words from my parents but I also do not remember ever craving to hear those words. I may not remember hearing the words but I also never had a painful hole from their absence.
Something about these kids on American Idol was making them truly crave hearing those words. Is that codependency? These kids were not going to be happy unless that particular parent was happy – unless they felt the love that would come from that approval.
Ever since he was very young, I have made a habit of telling Evan how proud I am of him and how proud I am that he’s my son. A lot of times I tell him this at bedtime but I look for other opportunities as well. I hope, frankly, that he gets tired of hearing me say it.
For these kids on American Idol, I am having a tough time having much hope for their relationships with their parents. I am afraid that they will always be chasing that elusive approval. Some parents just aren’t wired to show a lot of approval to their kids and unfortunately these kids seem to be blessed with parents of that ilk. And, to make matters worse, these kids seem to have linked their own happiness to the satisfaction of parents who can’t show it. How sad.
I hope and pray more than anything that these kids, as well as anyone else in their shoes, will discover the love of their Heavenly Father. A love that is there not because of something they must do or be but just because He created them. Yes, ultimately, I want God to boast in the good works these kids might allow Him to do through them but I want the kids to know that God is proud of them not because of things they do but quite simply because they are His. He created them in His own image. He created them out of love and with love. Once they know this, they will understand that they can break the generational chain of not showing love. They can pass their Heavenly Father’s love along to their own children. That is the way it can be ... and the way it should be.