The dream was so real that at first I had to convince myself my waking state was the reality.
I dreamt I was interviewing Joseph, Jesus’ foster father in heaven.
The interview went like this:
His face was bronzed and character lined, his brown eyes reflected a deep wisdom that drew you in and set you at ease so that you relaxed in his presence without thinking about it.
The room was stark white and empty except for two chairs. We sat facing each other comfortably as the interview began.
Me: So, Joseph, tell me what prompted you to grant this interview.
Joseph: I was asked to.
Me: That’s it! That’s the only reason? You were asked?
Joseph: It’s like this, in all that we’ve been through, my wife, my family and I, no one ever seemed interested in my side of the story. Even when Luke came to the house he was more curious about what Mary had to say, so I allowed her to speak. Apart from asking me to describe the details of my dreams he didn’t seem to need much input from me.
Me: So, what is your side of the story.
Joseph: That depends. What exactly do you want to know?
Me: Well, for instance, what would you share with our readers about being a good parent.
Joseph: There are several significant lessons I learnt about being a parent, for instance; it’s very difficult to teach your children to become something that you’re not. What I mean is, you can preach from dusk till dawn about truth and righteousness but if your children don’t SEE you practice these things at home then your preaching is void.
Me: Can you elaborate on this?
Joseph: Sure! Do you know why your children disobey you?
Because there are things about you and your life that they reject, they see stuff in you that they don’t like and don’t agree with. And they don’t want to become like you so they reject your authority to tell them what to do for fear that if they follow you and your instructions they’ll turn out just like you.
Me: Wow! I’ve never heard anyone put it quite like that before. So, how do we constructively handle this problem.
You must become attractive to them as people!
You do this by modeling the virtues you want them to have. And when they see these attractive qualities in you then they’ll want to be like you and have what you have.
So now, they’ll want to follow your lead and obey your instructions.
You see, whenever a leader cannot inspire his followers to obey, then he must manipulate them. And a parent is nothing more than a leader of his/her children.
So, we find that manipulation becomes the technique of the average parent. Do as I say OR ELSE! If your child dares to ask why, your practiced response is, “Because I’m your father/mother and I said so!
From the time that child is old enough or FEELS old enough they will begin to challenge your authority. First covertly, then openly, finally, if not checked, they’ll move on to total rebellion.
Is this making any sense to you, so far?
Me: Oh yes! Your words are pregnant with truth, Joseph. As a matter of fact I remember living through such experiences with my own parents. Please do continue.
Joseph: Here’s the key: First, you need to spend time with your children. Loving is giving and the most valuable resource you have is your time. When you invest time with your kids you’re confirming your unconditional love for them and they will come to know and trust your love.
Next, you build on this trust by fostering open dialog with them about discipline and punishment, eg. “You may NOT have this right now because this is not the time and place for you to have it.”
“Because I love you and this will only hurt you if I allow you to have it and Daddy loves you too much to allow you to hurt yourself. OK, so you can’t have it right away.”
As they grow older they will come to understand that there is always a reason for denial of something they desired and the reason is always love.
‘The reason is always love.’
I woke up with those words echoing in my head as I began to record the most profound dream I’ve ever had.