Excerpts from a previous post to ponder.
This section appears in Alice Miller's “The Truth Will Set You Free” in the epilogue entitled “From Ignorance To Knowledge and Compassion.” (In my edition, this section appears starting on page 190 and concludes with a section appearing on page 195.) The book speaks of “generational faithfulness” as old patterns of dysfunction, of how parents unknowingly use their children to medicate their old pains of the past. The whole chapter speaks respectfully of the Bible, but it draws into question the traditions of men.
The figure of Jesus confounds all those principles of poisonous pedagogy… Long before his birth Jesus received the greatest reverence, love and protection from his parents… His earthly parents saw themselves as his servants… Would it not make eminent sense to encourage believers to follow the example of Mary and Joseph and regard their children as the children of God (which in a sense they are)?
[T]he members of the upcoming generations will have the courage to call evil by its name…It is high time to relinquish the destructive models and to mistrust the principle of obedience. We have no need of docile children brainwashed by their upbringing to be ideal targets of seduction by terrorists and lunatic ideologists, ready to fall in with their commands even to the extent of killing others. Children given the respect they deserve from their earliest years will go through life with open eyes and ears, prepared to fight injustice, stupidity, and ignorance with arguments and constructive action. Jesus did this at the age of twelve, and the scene in the temple (Luke 2:41-52) demonstrates eloquently that, if need be, he could refuse the obedience his parents asked of him without hurting their feelings.
With the best will in the world we cannot truly emulate the example of Jesus. None of us were carried by our mothers as the child of God; indeed, for far too many parents, children are merely a burden. What we can do, provided we really want to, is learn from the attitude displayed by Joseph and Mary. They did not demand docility from their son, and they felt no urge to inflict violence on him. Only if we fear the confrontation with our own histories will we need to have power over others and cling to it with all our might. And if we do that it is because we feel too weak to be true to ourselves and our own feelings. But being honest to our children will make us strong. In order to tell the truth we do not need to have power over others. Power is something we only need in order to spread lies and hypocrisy, to mouth empty words and pretend they are true.