What good comes out of struggling
I meet a lot of people who have a hard time letting their kids struggle. Either they refuse to let their child toil over anything, or they want to see their child figure stuff out for themselves, but it hurts too much to watch them fail. I’m not too different. It is a parents’ calling to be there to help their child. It is a natural feeling to save them from any kind of despair. What I’m offering here is a chance to think about what struggling can do for a child, or an adult for that matter. How can anything good come from struggling?
Let’s be clear, I’m writing my opinions and thoughts based off books I’ve read and courses I’ve taken. There are also books and courses that will counteract my statements. This is because there is no right way to parent. You gather information and you make the best decisions for your family. Don’t think for a second, I believe someone is wrong because they do things differently than I do. My decisions will sometimes even vary for each of my children. This is a judgement free zone!
There’s a popular life quote that states, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” I believe in this full heartedly, as I also believe another very popular quote, “God doesn’t give us, more than we can handle.” Our Father in heaven asks us to struggle with life every single day. He doesn’t do it to be mean, or because He is lazy, there is just always an underlying plan we haven’t been made aware of yet. Our lives unfold as we go, and if you’re anything like me, you can look back and see how much you’ve grown. That growth comes from your victories and failures, overcoming the hard things, or maybe just powering through the tough times, as there was no way to overcome it. Like our children, we will fall occasionally, we won’t ace every test (some we may fail miserably), and we certainly will feel sadness or possibly anger for having to strain and toil at all. Our children need to learn many lessons that only struggles can teach. Our job as parents is to guide them through the thought process, to encourage them by complimenting the effort and the hard work they’re exerting, and to show love and support whether our children succeed or fail. God does this very thing for us, so let Him be an example for you as a parent.
If you have young children then you’ve probably seen the incredible Disney film, “Inside Out”. This movie is an excellent example of how hard times can bring you joy. One of Riley’s core joyful memories came directly from a terrible day. Sometimes Disney movies get deep; have you watched Finding Nemo? “Well you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.” Hopefully, when Dory said this to Marlin, it opened your eyes, gave you an “aha” moment, or justified your way of parenting, because this is crucial. If you shelter your kids too much, then they will miss out on all the experiences they need to learn how to become an adult. As sad as it is, our main task as mothers and fathers is to give our children the tools they need to be on their own. They need to learn independency as they grow instead of all at once when they go off to work, trade school, college, or become parents.
I used the word shelter early, and I’ll clarify my thoughts on that. Sheltering our kids from harm is not bad. I am sheltering my children from certain things on TV, the news to give a big example, because I feel it will hinder some of our lessons. One important lesson I am working on instilling in these beautiful minds is, generally most people are good. There are several things out there, like the news, that will counter my words. As they grow older, we will discuss that people will sometimes do bad things, how to spot someone wanting to be harmful, what to do in those situations, etc. but for now, they need to know not to fear the people of the world. So, I do still shelter my children, but in a conscious way. What I’m not sheltering is their desire to try something they haven’t been able to do before.
As a parent, you get to make those decisions for your family. What our crew does or doesn’t do, may not be the same for your family for very legitimate reasons. Parenting isn’t easy, but when it is done well, you can be sure you’re exhausted at the end of the day. What my husband and I refer to as conscious parenting, is the key to being a good parent. Conscious parenting is making decisions based off reason, trying to do your best even when you feel like you’re doing poorly. Conscious parenting is looking at your children and what you want for them as they grow, then working backward to figure out where you should start, or what you should be doing, now. The responsibility is enormous, but you have been equipped for the job. You get to use what your parents taught you. Maybe you’ve learned from other people’s mistakes. God blessed you with a child knowing you had it in you to make the right decisions. If you feel like you weren’t given the tools, then go listen to someone talk, find a book to guide you. All those things are there for you, and probably presented to you by the Holy Spirit.
You must know, no one knows it all. We are all struggling to do what is best, and praying God will guide us along the right path. Our kiddos are looking to in the same way. They need us to guide them along the best course. Just like we will always need Jesus, our children will always need their parents, even long after they’re grown, maybe married with kids, and quite possibly even when they’re having grandkids. We will always be there for our children no matter their ages and stages, but our job is to influence their decisions, not make them or do things for them. Let them struggle so they can learn the true joy of living.
This topic is much greater than these few paragraphs, what do you have to offer? What are your thoughts on this, the struggle, in particular?