The Curse of Independence

Being a grandfathphotoer is a blast.  I have six grandchildren.  Each one has their own unique design so different from each other, and yet so similar.  But, that’s the human creation isn’t it?  No individual has ever been identical to another and yet we are so much the same.

Take Noah, for instance, my youngest grandson.  Like all the other grandchildren, he demonstrates incredible intelligence and a winsome delightful personality. He is almost two. I have been observing him recently and he is becoming aware that he can do things for himself, and he likes it.  In fact, he likes it so much he wants to do everything by himself, when he wants to do it.  Noah is about to embark on what is popularly and correctly coined, “The Terrible Twos.”  But wait a minute.  Is there a switch in his little brain that alerts him to this developmental phase?  Is it something he now is eating that triggers outbursts of defiant attention getting behaviors?

The “Terrible Twos” is the awakening.  Noah has discovered, Independence.  Isn’t that a good thing?  He can feed himself, this year he will grasp toilet training, and language will take a greater leap than any other time in his life.  He will improve his skills on an I-pad, take a spin on a tricycle and in Arizona, learn to swim.  That’s all good, so why do we call it the “Terrible Twos”? Independence is a blessing and a curse and it is the original curse on us all and it is forever nipping at our heels.

C’mon Eve, God didn’t say you would really die if you ate that fruit.  He just knew that if you did, your eyes would be opened and you’d just like Him.  In that precarious moment, Eve chose Independence and poor Noah and all the rest of are stuck with the consequences. Noah is cursed to believe in his heart that he can do everything for himself, by himself and he doesn’t need your help.  His language is limited right now, but his determination to communicate to you that he’s in charge is growing quickly.  I pray for my children every day.  They are charged with modeling for their children how we just can’t live in this world by ourselves.

You see how we are all the same.  Independence is the curse. We travel along believing that we can manage, direct, manipulate, and coerce our will in our favor.  If we fail, we just need to try harder.  And so we bang the table and yell, “No, I won’t eat the broccoli and you can’t make me.”  Noah will learn through the loving hearts of his parents, that no, he can’t do everything by himself.  There will be scrapes and bruises, there will be tears.  In time, he will come Noah and Bearsto know that like all of us, we are dependent.  Always have been, always will be until we meet the one with the wounded hands.  Then, we will never desire Independence again.  In the meantime, go easy on those two year olds a little.

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About Bill Harbeck

Founder and Director of Holding on to Hope Ministries. A non-profit work that helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse unveil their past and begin the healing process. Author of the book Shattered; One Man's Journey from Childhood Sexual Abuse
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One Response to The Curse of Independence

  1. Thanks Bill for posting this. As a grandparent of eight, I see the similar things. Just yesterday, my granddaughter, Emma, who is 9, went rollerskating. She feels that independence at the rink but that was when she fell and someone ran over her wrist. She is now in a cast up to her upper arm. Of yes, there was displacement and tears along the way. Just as we can feel displaced at times in our lives.

    We love and appreciate Jillian, you and your entire family back here in the Capital Region of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, NY. It is quite cold, but the sun is shining today.

    Thank you for putting this so beautifully. I will be waiting until I “meet the one with the wounded hands”. Be blessed my brother.

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