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Children grow through hard times

October 6th, 2009 / 3 Comments

I was talking to a friend today who recently found out that her independent 14-year-old daughter used to cry at school in the first and second grade.

“I thought she was perfectly happy! I didn’t even know she was going through a hard time,” my friend said. She felt bad that she didn’t do anything for her daughter at the time. Had she known of her crying, she could’ve helped.

That’s typical of the way we parents think. We can make life better for our kids. We can be there to make the bad things all go away so our children do not have to experience the harshness of life. If they go anywhere without us, they may get hurt.

But parents don’t know everything. We can’t know everything. As much as we are in tune and involved, we will not know everything that our children are going through on the inside.

But maybe we don’t need to know everything. Maybe our deficiencies can be redeemed for good.

My son had a difficult adjustment to middle school. Since he is my first child, I had no idea the struggles of an adolescent boy. I was totally insensitive to his problems.

Finally a few years later when he was almost out of high school, a light bulb moment made me see in hindsight the troubles he faced with bullies and rejection. I apologized to my son. “I am sorry. I didn’t understand what you were going through. I wish I could’ve helped you.” His answer to me was another light bulb going off. “It’s ok, mom. I think I am more compassionate to people because I know what it feels like to be made fun of.”

I have to let my children live and learn. It’s hard to watch them face rejection, fear, failure, loneliness. But that’s how they will grow. That’s how we all grow to be better people.

Sometimes, they just have to experience those difficult aspects of life. It’ll be ok.

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