Acceptance is not endorsement

In a prior post, I recommend that you “Accept that your kid has these feelings.”

This is an area of resistance for a number of parents I work with. They express a fear that acceptance means giving up, or rolling over and giving in to the culture. This usually turns out to be a matter of semantics, or sometimes of precision of thought. So, a longer discussion may be helpful.

One of the definitions of “Accept,” from the Merriam Webster online dictionary is: to endure without protest or reaction. Webster’s Unabridged includes: to accommodate or reconcile oneself to. I might add to those: To take at face value. That is the definition that we are dealing with here.

Acceptance is not synonymous with affirming or celebrating or embracing.

It is simply a recognition of a reality. Your child feels these feelings. It is not for you or me to deny that.

I try to use the word accept in a very specific way, and I suggest that you aim for the same precision. Accept that your loved one experiences these feelings (of attraction for the same sex, desire, etc.) That acceptance does not equate to endorsement of any acting on those feelings.

What I do not accept, and I suggest that you do not, is an identity of being gay. Recognizing a person’s feelings is one thing, but turning feelings into an identity cannot be reconciled to a proper understanding of the human person. So you can recognize a person’s emotional experience as real, and still legitimately dispute the conclusion they draw from those feelings.


Filed under Fathers, Gay Identity, Mothers

3 Responses to Acceptance is not endorsement

  1. Cecilia

    Many Blessings Rilene,
    Well said. Accepting your child has these feelings does not mean accepting or affirming the behavior. We need to realize that this is happening so we can be supportive and understanding and they do not feel rejected but by no means it means accepting the behavior. We have to detach the behavior from the identity. And the only identity one has is the one God gives at birth.

  2. Thank you for your very clear post. I’ve been trying to tell those I love this very message, yet it helps to not be the only one saying it. Often they will listen to others when they won’t listen to me. 🙂

    • Cecilia

      Yes, I totally understand you because I live the same with my family relatives and my own son but I have told him and remind him that he is more than just the identity he wants to embrace. “You are a son, a brother, a grandchild, a cousin, a role model, a student, a friend, a son of God and to Him you will come…in God’s time!” It is difficult to go against what the world tells them because the script is very convincing” your parents will not understand you, they do not love you because they do not accept you, etc.” Many blessings!

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