The Unlearning Curve

from april…

Trying to unlearn something is sort of like tying a double knot. Easy to do, but not as easy to undo.

Just like choices. Seemingly easy to make, but once made, they usually can’t be “un-made”.

Sometimes the aftermath of choices are like storms, passing over but once it stops, the sun comes out. But sometimes, the aftermath can be unbearable. Like the guy who chose one night to get behind a wheel after he had been drinking, and what was meant for an innocent night of unforgettable fun turned into a night he would give anything to forget. You don’t need prison to have a life sentence. Some consequences are eternally internal.

While that kind of choice leads to an almost immediate consequence, some choices are more subtle.

Like how we choose to parent. Ouch- that’s below the belt. Those consequences can be invisible for a long time. Until they become adults. And suddenly, every wrong choice you made as a parent oozes out like molasses. Slow, thick and dark.

We make choices for our kids that we feel are right, and that will make them into functional, contributing adults. But sometimes the primary focus is put so much on things that are secondary that by the time adulthood comes, they learn that those things shouldn’t have even been on the list. And now they can’t focus on the important primaries because the secondary is sitting in its place.

So we have to unlearn the secondary and replace it with the REAL primary. And somehow find a place for the secondary so that we don’t lose our minds.

If that is even possible.

Can you think of anything that was engrained in your head as a kid that you now wish you could unlearn?

I can.

For me, it was the “if we don’t talk about it, then it must not exist” and “we must make sure we APPEAR to have it all together even if/when we don’t”.  This form of control made me question Who I was and this…..was very hard to figure out.

I’m not trying to call anyone out here because this was a very generational mentality. And our parents only passed down what they were taught. I had wonderful and godly parents and a wonderful childhood.

But as a result of this, I have found myself struggling in normal relationships. Struggling to talk about things that need to be talked about in order to avoid a fight. Or keeping things to myself. Things that would kill me on the inside but I would have rather died than to face the music of what would be thought of me. Struggling to think for myself or have a real opinion without considering what everyone else would think first. Some of which I still struggle with. I have to pause when I’m making decisions to make sure I’m making them for me and not everyone else. I have to force myself to talk things out with people when necessary. I question myself with even the things I’m good at. How much better would I be if I didnt question my abilities. It has been a huge “unlearning” curve for me. And it takes much deliberation to make sure I don’t pass down the false primaries.

There’s a lot of psychology that I will spare you from, but one thing I have taken from dredging through quick sand is the importance of keeping the unimportant as the unimportant. Keeping the secondary second. And the RIGHT primary first.

Too many things in this society are placed up high when they probably aren’t even worthy of a place on the list. It is now up to us as adults and Christians to set the stage for the people looking up to us. And as parents for our kids, to set them up for strength and steadfastness, not the world’s idea of “success”, which will leave them insecure and unsure of who they are.

What is important is not just teaching our kids how to love God, But SHOWING them how to. This requires actively loving God- with how we treat them, and others. How we pray. How we respond to adversity and trials, and the compassion we have for others. If we open ourselves up to grace and authenticity the way Jesus does, our kids (and others) will feel loved enough to talk to us about anything, and more importantly, to pass that love on. If we UNlearn how to fake it, and RElearn that vulnerability is strength, They won’t feel the need to judge themselves so harshly which only leads them to judge others even more harshly.

I believe if we stress the importance of the basics, and the UNimportance of pleasing the world, we can shape a breed of kids and Christians who will turn into our strongest generation yet. An authentic, gracious, compassionate and loving people.

It starts with us. But we must be willing to UNlearn what we know, so that we can RElearn what is important. And that is hardest of all.





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