Early this morning I read this article on a Facebook friend’s page. And these words have been rolling around my brain ever since;
“What if it has never been our job—or our right—to protect our children from every incoming bump and bruise? What if, instead, our obligation is to point them directly toward life’s inevitable trials and tribulations and say, ‘Honey, that challenge was made for you. It might hurt, but it will also nurture wisdom, courage, and character. I can see what you’re going through, and it’s big. But I can also see your strength, and that’s even bigger. This won’t be easy, but we can do hard things.’”
Thinking about resilience, failure, and perseverance in children is something we teachers do. I worry that today’s children can’t wander their neighborhoods unattended for hours like we did. I wonder about everyone, win or lose, getting a trophy. I wish we parents didn’t feel the need to work so hard to keep the safety net strategically positioned below our kids. I wrestle with questions like: How will this next generation develop coping skills? And how will they learn to push through pain and disappointment? I know people have written about this subject A LOT. But until a few years ago, it was something I thought about more in the abstract. Until a few years ago I was one step removed from this.
A few years ago our family fell apart. It was excruciating. I’d have done anything to avoid the pain I knew our children were experiencing. My struggles aside, I was afraid it would never soften, that they would be forever broken.
But, as I sat in my bed this morning reading the article linked above, I realized that my children are stronger for the adversity that our family weathered. I’m not justifying divorce, and I would not wish the pain on anyone. But I see strength in my two girls now that was not there before. They are compassionate, insightful, grateful, flexible and independent in ways that they were not before.