I have been asked by a number of you, what I mean by “from dependence through independence to interdependence” [Gem 686] . I know that if three have been bold enough to ask, then there are others behind the scenes who are asking too but without words. So I am taking the time to explain what I meant in today’s gem. If I don’t do it now I will forget it. The input “For Husbands” can wait till tomorrow. In fact speaking as a man, most husbands would prefer I wait another year or two before addressing the subject. So I’ll give you another day – think about my question yesterday: Is it appropriate for your wife to submit to you if you are not submitted to Christ.
We are told to “grow up”. We tell our children that too. Mostly we refer to children when we say this but occasionally it is an adult who is in focus and told to “grow up”. The inference being that they are being like a child or childish. They need to grow to maturity. Part of that process is in learning to be independent. We start life being very dependent. The human baby is dependent on its parents for a relatively long period of time. Other creatures in the animal kingdom shed their dependence within a matter of days. I remember looking at the issues of offspring dependency in human kind in the context of limits to population growth years ago when doing my degree. Humans have a much more extended period of offspring dependency than animals. Consider the time it takes a human baby to be relatively in! dependent as compared with offspring of the animal kingdom. A young fo al, calf or lamb is birthed and short time later it is running around the paddock. A kitten is given birth and then spends the first week with its eyes closed. After that it is independent apart, from being given food. My purpose is not to give a thorough comparison of humans and the animal kingdom in terms of offspring dependency but it is clear we take a lot longer to get started without considerable help. We must move beyond dependence in order to grow up.
As parents we must help our children to develop a sense of independence. We do that by allowing them early on to make decisions for themselves. We ought to plan it so they start with minor inconsequential decisions and work their way toward more significan! t decisions of their own. All the while reassuring them of our acceptance and love but reminding them they bear the responsibility for the decisions made. If we do this in a planned, strategic way then by the time they need to be making decisions of their own they have learned to trust their own judgement and bear the responsibilities for their own errors in judgement. To do so is to train them for life. To do so is to help them become adult and mature.
I meet or hear of too many parents these days who don’t teach their children to be independent in any way. Rather the parent continues to make all decisions for the child and then bails them out of the problems they get into. Or worse yet when the child is so f! rustrated at not being given any freedom and rebels with dire consequences. Worse still, is the parent who is still treating the child as a child even though they are an adult in their twenties or thirties. The parent still wants control for one reason or another. As a result the child is never allowed to be independent. Many times this happens because the parent themselves hasn’t developed independence and is dependent on their child for many different reasons. In that case the child ends up have to parent the parent but of course that is unacceptable to the immature parent. Now that’s a Catch 22.
Therapists and psychologist talk now of a new disorder called co–dependency, which “has developed in the last 10 years”. Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. Instead of working from dependence to independence, the one who should be independent ends up being dependent on the child they should be training to be independent. It is only possible to have to a strong relationship with someone who is not dependent.
When true independence is arrived at FOR BOTH PARTIES, then it is possible to have a truly interdependent relationship. An interdependent relationship is one based on mutuality. The kind of mutuality expressed in the biblical expression “one another” – love one another, be subject to one another etc. Did you know you can’t arrive at true interdependence without going though the independence stage. It is not possible. Without independence there is no true interdependence. Independence is not the end of the line, showing maturity. Interdependence is! That is the goal we ought to be aiming at. Are you selling yourself short and thinking that Independence is the pinnacle? It’s not – Interdependence is.
A good study for you to do is to look at the reference to “one another” in the Bible and see how you measure up. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, submission fits into this continuum of moving from dependence to independence to interdependence. Where are you up to? Are you still dependent, are you independent and feeling like you have arrived and mature? Or are you striving for interdependence with others and living a more biblical model?
You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.Zig Ziglar
Do you want to be right or in a relationship?Ian Vail
There is a world of difference between talking TO someone & talking WITH someone.Ian Vail
That “Love Thy Neighbor” thing… I meant it.God
Never Try To Compete With People; But Always Try To Complete People.Robb Thompson