By: Loreen Sarmiento November 15,2015 - 01:28 AM

We live in a time when it’s not that shocking to hear about a son with a drug addiction,  a daughter who gets pregnant out of wedlock, young people who don’t go to Sunday Mass or those who seek the final escape from their problems by committing  suicide.
Zoom in on their parents. When things go wrong with their children, they are disheartened in a major way because it seems all the efforts they’ve made to rear their children right have been wasted and the children have turned against them and their training.
And the question they ask themselves is: “Where did I go wrong?” And they start to carry the guilt for a long time.  Side by side with guilt is regret as they continue to wonder  why things turned out so horribly wrong.
I have read and heard guilt stories like this but I wasn’t prepared to find myself in similar circumstances. True enough, I found myself asking, “Where did I go wrong?”
Widowed for 19 years, I have stretched myself too thin, trying to  cram  my workload and  my role as solo parent in one regular day. Many times, I wished there were  more than 24 hours in a day. Despite my best efforts to squeeze in all my roles every day, I still feel guilty that what I was doing  wasn’t enough.
I know that what has been done cannot be undone, but I am hurting with guilt.
I thought I gave my children the  attention and care they needed and raised them to be God-fearing. I thought I was always there for them so they can say anything to me or confide in me. But they still erred.
The blame is usually laid at the parents’ door. And the knee-jerk reaction (like mine) is to feel guilty.
But you know, a parent is a parent. I will choose to forget my own hurt, disappointment and regret because what is clearest to me is that I won’t give up on my child.  In the same way that I pray for peace and acceptance on my part, I also hope for the same for my child.
If, like me, you have a  wayward child, find comfort in that you are not alone in your troubles. Parents are not perfect and for sure, we have made mistakes but we have tried our best to raise them well. So if we feel guilty, accept that it is an intrinsic part of parenthood.
But we can’t afford to dwell on how we could have prevented the problem from happening. This is an opportune time for us to seek God’s grace so that we will stop feeling guilty about feeling guilty. Assigning blame may not helpful at this point.
If your child decides to come back to the fold, always be ready to  receive him back.  If he repents and returns, leave the past be.
To quote my son, “Let’s move forward not backward.”
Will things be better? Can they be better? The struggles I’ve  had to place my trust in God’s goodness to turn pain into joy speak for themselves. A great deal  of faith is needed  to wait for the turnaround to happen.
No one has ever said it’s going to be easy, but  I hold firm in my heart the belief that if I  continue praying for my child and have room enough to forgive, everything will fall into place.
This is the time to show a parent’s unconditional love in the same way that Jesus died on the Cross for all our sins. Gasping for his last breath, He still asked God to forgive us because we didn’t know what we’re doing.
I can’t end this article without dropping a message for the children reading this column.
Be careful what you do, what you say, where you go, how you treat your parents. No matter what you think of them as parents, look to God for guidance so you will find a way  to deal with this eternal conflict between  children and parents. I pray that God will bless you as you struggle with whatever problem you are going through. Stay with God!
Avoid causing pain and grief. Remember, when you are in trouble and have no one else to turn to,  your parents will always be there.
As for me, I pray, “Teach me to love more, O Lord.  You have been my strength and my hope. I will not allow anyone, even those so close like my children to come between us and destroy my faith to you.”

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