The following is an excerpt from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to the Connected Child.” Created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael and Amy Monroe, “Created to Connect” serves as a dynamic resource for those looking to draw helpful, encouraging parallels between the Christian faith and the foundational teachings of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®).
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Turning again to Jesus as our guide, we find that he never excused or condoned behavior that “missed the mark.” But we also discover that he seldom lectured, scolded or preached at those who were hurting and in need of help and healing. Instead, he often looked beyond the surface to the “root cause” in order to offer true hope. We must also be willing to do the same with our children.
No example better illustrates this than the Samaritan woman’s life-changing encounter with Jesus at Jacob’s well. As recorded in the fourth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is instructive for us as parents as we deal with our children’s behaviors. The woman’s failures were clear and apparently well known, but looking beyond the obvious, Jesus knew that the woman’s sin pointed to a much deeper problem. Given the number and nature of her relationships, we can speculate that she was trying to fill some void in her life. Ironically, much like many children with relational trauma, this woman clearly was seeking a close, connected relationship, but her behaviors were actually preventing her from finding what she sought.
Many of our children desperately want to be loved, to feel that they have worth, and to feel connected, yet their pain is so deep, the void so large, and the confusion so great that they often act in ways that inhibit rather than promote the very thing they desire. Similarly, we also see this with children who act out and seemingly sabotage themselves even as things start to move in a positive direction.
Thankfully, but not surprisingly, we find Jesus interacting with the Samaritan woman in a way that offered her lasting hope and the fulfillment of her deepest needs. While never once condoning or ignoring her behavior, he kept his focus clearly on helping her find what she truly needed—a relationship and a connection that would change her from the inside out. In the same way, our children need to understand God’s love for them and the hope that is offered through Jesus Christ, even as they desperately need to experience that love expressed in tangible and practical ways through us.
Excerpt from “Created to Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child” created by Dr. Karyn Purvis with Michael & Amy Monroe. Published by Empowered to Connect. Used by permission.
“Created to Connect” is a foundational piece of Show Hope’s Hope for the Journey Conference (previously the Empowered to Connect Conference). To experience the practical teaching and tools for a path to healing and hope for children and families impacted by adoption or foster care, learn more here.
Download a digital version of “Created to Connect” for free here.