Is it possible for "unconditional love" to go one step too far? This question has bothered me since the day I saw Kip Kinkel's parents stand behind him. Then I saw John Walker Lindh's parents stand behind him, and now
stand behind him. Am I the one who's nuts? Just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you have to stand behind them when they murder people, does it? If one of my family members -- be it cousin, brother, or husband -- strangled three people in cold blood, I sure as hell wouldn't stand up for him. I don't have children, so I can't really speak on the love that parents have for their children, but aren't there some things that cross that unconditional love boundary? Like coldhearted murder? Parents in the audience, please help me on this one.
Sarah, I have a friend who did something bad and is doing time now in jail. I think the answer is in how you stand behind him:
This part is NOT okay: "I do forgive my cousin."
This part IS okay: "I support my cousin."
Getting in the way of justice is NOT okay. Helping him on a humanitarian basis IS okay. It's important that people think of themselves as good even if they sometimes (or often) do bad things, otherwise there is no possibility of repentance - and that's an important thing to support. It's also important to remember that none of this is related to the moral right of self-defense
Luckily, we have courts - it's their business to judge people (not morally, but factually, in order to defend society). All we are obligated to do is tell the truth. Other people I know felt they needed to have an opinion about my friend, and then act to further it. I think that's wrong. What I know is that he's a basically good person who may have done a bad thing.
Posted by: David Boxenhorn at December 06, 2004 12:26 PM (7Uio+)
The correct response would be "If he did something wrong, he should be punished. That said, I'll stand by his side during this rough time."
You can support someone, but I think you have to let them know what they did was wrong, and it does affect the way you think of them. You may still love them, but they will never be able to make murder of a wife and another woman OKAY, because it's NOT. I use this with my clients quite a bit.
Posted by: Oda Mae at December 06, 2004 02:22 PM (i3ZLc)
If you are not a parent you have no idea. Don't bother trying to understand. You won't.
Posted by: Fred Rated at December 06, 2004 08:44 PM (Fn679)
Love is like time, Sarah -- it blunts the sharp edges and clouds judgment.
Posted by: CavalierX at December 06, 2004 11:28 PM (sA6XT)
Unconditional love isn't mushy. I love my kids dearly, but for their good, I allow them to deal with the consequences of their actions. To deny their bad behavior or ask for a lessened penalty because "I love them" really isn't love at all. Lack of consequence for their actions creates injustice for those whom they harm; it's really a form of selfishness. Love doesn't deny truth or gloss over wrong.
I think all of us want to believe the best of those we love, especially our children - it's instinct to protect them! Their behavior is also a reflection on us. In a way, we have to have a bit of that "love is blind" to put up with each other in such close quarters! But in any relationship, we get into trouble when we begin to justify behavior instead of looking at the truth.
I pray I'll never be faced with a child who does something that horrific. But I don't think my response (after all the tears) would be too much different than it is now - encourage them to tell the truth, not allow myself to be manipulated, and do all I can to help them find ways to make it right.
Posted by: Lyana at December 07, 2004 12:20 AM (cz0gn)
Not that it changes the point of your post, but unless you are speaking of a time before the school shootings took place, Kip Kinkel's parents couldn't have stood behind him...he murdered them.
Posted by: Tink at December 07, 2004 02:13 AM (S6VXg)
You're right, Tink. I had Kinkel's name stuck in my head, but it must have been Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I don't know why I felt so sure it was Kinkel...
Posted by: Sarah at December 07, 2004 02:44 AM (ZE4ns)
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