This is post is about our son, The Graduate. I’d love your input, but it’s a very personal topic for me and my family. Read and comment carefully, or else!
OK, Papa Bear part done 😉
The Graduate is an awesome kid! He’ll turn 19 as a freshman at Purdue University this fall. In a house full of turmoil for the last decade and a half, The Graduate has been steady, kind, loving, and even prayerful. From the earliest age, he has been what I think is the epitome of a Christian. He brought home stories from the Christian based pre-school that would blow our minds. This was just at the point that I was saved, and he would teach me things about the Bible, about God and our relationship with Him. The Graduate has not changed as he’s grown.
He is intelligent, funny, talented, and has a great, encouraging circle of friends — more so than any of our other children (dare I commit this to a public forum?). I think the other children would admit, The Graduate has applied himself well, and picked up some deep talents and good grades, and has generally done life well so far. He is fluent in Spanish after spending 11 months on a high school exchange program. He is one of the top musicians in the state in his area of performance, and will carry both of these talents to the university level where he is interested in exploring a medical profession.
The Graduate told us this spring he is gay. “I have been seeing someone and want to ask him to Prom. I didn’t want to have to lie to you about it and just say I am going to prom with a group, so that’s why I want to tell you now.” He is amazing at all times!
The theological part of my brain (my brain has a LOT of different parts) has been going CRAAAAZY!
But this post is about the family part of my brain. You are my son – I love you!!
This conversation took place last night and this morning: Marie (that’s my wife) told me The Graduate changed his Facebook status to “In a Relationship” with [Boyfriend] – I guess it’s been up for a couple of days. She wants to ask him to take it down because she is not ready to have the discussion with her family.
It’s been at least two days – enough time for a few cousins or aunts to see it on their FB Newsfeed. He also came out on Twitter about a year ago (essentially at school / friends). There is no taking this information back. I think my wife is putting her own feelings and anxiety about addressing her family in front of The Graduate’s feelings. I told her so. We resumed the conversation this morning. She said, “YES that is true, but my feelings matter too.”
THIS is starting to identify the root issue. Marie reverts to her FEAR of what others think of her and our family, and then ACTS on that FEAR. As I realized her anxiety, I really started to listen. It was interesting all the excuses: trying to protect her 80 year old Catholic Parents, protecting The Graduate’s Feelings from family who might not understand, minimizing The Graduate’s need to post his status because it’s just a high school relationship. But all these are dancing around the real issue – MARIE is scared to talk to her family. MARIE is afraid they will judge her. MARIE is intimidated by the questions they will ask.
I agree, my wife’s feelings do matter. But sometime our feelings will lead us in the wrong direction. For the record, I have no problem telling my family, and think they will be supportive (and maybe not surprised). I also don’t think Marie’s maily will be surprised and will also be supportive.
This will be the topic of Marriage Counseling #6 today. . . stay tuned!