Why Do I Feel Guilty?

Q. Why am I having so much guilt over not supporting our son? From what I have read and from what people have told us, my husband and I should not support our son’s lifestyle, but it’s breaking my heart. He is 18-1/2, graduated high school this year, quit his job, and just hangs out with his friends. There is nothing physically preventing him from working or going to school (his grandparents have offered to help fund schooling, and he is smart enough that he could have gotten scholarships if he had applied himself). Are we doing the right thing?

A. It’s natural to have feelings like yours in a case like this. The question you have to ask yourself is whether these feelings are a reliable indicator for action. Since feelings are more often associated with our human nature rather than our spiritual nature, most productive behavior changes involve making “contrary to feelings” choices. The choice to forgive someone who has wronged you even when you don’t feel like it is a good example. The choice to do what’s best for an adult child even though you feel like protecting him is another. You’ve told him he’s still welcome in your home so you’re showing him that although your love for him is unconditional, it doesn’t mean have to support his unproductive behavior.

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