by Ron Clarkson

Parents in Pain
Parenting on Purpose
Ron Clarkson
September 25, 1994

Opening Illustration: About a year and a half ago, Ann and I had struck up a friendship with another couple in our neighborhood. We would go out to dinner and we really enjoyed this couple and grew to be fairly close with them. Close enough to where we were sharing different issues in our lives. As we began to open up to one another, they began to share about the struggles they had with their teenager. The pain, the hurt, the distrust that accompanies a rebellious teen. As Ann and I would lay in bed and think about these new found friends and their pain, we couldn't imagine what they were going through. we couldn't imagine having a child that you had built your entire life into all of a sudden become a Mr. Hyde. As we talked, we were thankful that we weren't going through what our friends were experiencing. And though we didn't feel any better or superior to them as parents, we did almost presume that something like this would never happen to our kids. After all, we love our kids, sacrifice for our kids, have instilled strong values into their life, we've taught them to love God, to love people, to eat apple pie.

But, over the course of the past year, things have changed. One year ago our oldest son, Ryan, was sitting around our dinner table teasing his sisters, complaining about doing dishes.. He was wrestling with his little 4 year old brother who adored him. He was in honors classes and advanced placement classes at high school, he was playing basketball with dad, planting flowers with mom and as a 16 year old every night before bed would say, "Good night mom, good night dad, I love you."

Things have changed in the past year, and the hell that our family has been through this past year is unmatched in my or my wife's life. The pain we've experienced is indescribable - only to say that my wife said that the pain of loosing her first husband doesn't come close to the pain she has e ...

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