Aaron is having a difficult time.  He is 35 years old and thanks to his parents, he’s accomplished many wonderful things in his life.  Because of their insistance that he perform each task with excellence, the fact that he has an IQ of 54 has not been a major problem. 

Aaron holds down a full time job at a nursing home, earning a living wage.  He receives rave reviews from his bosses.  He owns and drives his own car.  He has a small cottage near his parent’s larger home but it’s enough out of the way that he has his privacy.  While he is connected with the state agency and has a support coordinatior, he is able to function without much State support.  He is currently taking piano and art lessons.  He participates in sports and he is a member of a choir.  He is involved in a local congregation and he is a deacon at Special Gathering. 

Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We seek to evangelize and disciple people who are developmentally disabled.

What’s Aaron’s problem?  His parents.  While they have made every step possible to integrate Aaron into society and push him toward a productive live, Aaron feels that he is overly controlled and hampered by the two people who have promoted and fostered his ambitions for years.  As a family, they are struggling to find a new balance in his life and their lives.

One of the big problems that our higher-functioning members will face is how to honor their parents as they mature.  One of the biggest problems parents will face is maintaining the steady hand of support while allowing them to make their own way–including mistakes. 

Think about it.  As we grow older, our parents will probably become more precious to us or more aggravating.  And for most of us–a little bit of both.  Aaron’s struggles have been even more difficult because he doesn’t have the intricate reasoning power which allows him to sort logically through the pros and cons of this dilemma.  Therefore, he reacts negatively to every suggestion and plan they propose.

No amount of teaching, prayer or discussion has seemed to help.  However, last week as we discussed the implications of the Ten Commandments during our regular Bible time, Aaron said that he understood for the first time that this was one of commandments and that he was breaking it when he wasn’t honoring his parents.  I had shared with the group, “We don’t have to agree with our parents.  But we must honor them.” 

“I’m going to be okay now,” Aaron shared as I took him back to his cottage after choir practice.  Aaron, of course, will still struggle because Galatians tells us that the purpose of the commandments is to be a school teacher that helps us to know that we can’t possibly follow the laws of God.  However, wanting to follow them means that now God can come in and help this courageous man.

How have your members dealt with this preplexing problem?