Sylvia McCrory / 2020
We love our children so much; we want to protect them from harm. We want them to have advantages we wish we had had as children. We want to buy them devices and tools that will make their path to adulthood easier than ours. But are we preparing them for disappointments?
Most would agree, as do I, you cannot love your children too much, unless you are putting them before God. But many times, we fail to prepare our children for life’s disappointments. This is one of the harder jobs of parenting, because we want to protect and shield them. Loving parents hurt when their children hurt, and it is only natural to try to avoid these situations.
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The harsh truth is all our children are going to be impacted by disappointments in their lifetime. During their life they will experience one or more disappointments such as divorce, death, financial problems, illness, loss of job, or failed relationships. For those unable to cope with these situations people turn to drugs, destructive actions or even suicide. It is the “fight or flee” scenario, if unequipped to fight we find ways to flee.
Our responsibility as parents is to teach our children to fight. We are instructed in the Bible our life will not always be easy. Christians will face hard times, sometimes it will feel as if there is a dark cloud hanging over and we cannot see the light. For some Christians, the hardships seem to come one after the other. Problems will come to all Christians. The Bible assures us of that, we need to know God is always with us and He will take us through anything we face.
So, the question is: How do we prepare our children for these hardships?
We all need a purpose, a job to make us feel worthwhile and fulfilled. For young children, give them responsibilities like cleaning their room, taking out the trash, taking care of the pet but it is their job, not the job of anyone else.
Reward them when they fulfill their job. For older children, a job maybe outside of the home, even a paying job. The important thing is to make it a job they must do, that will not happen without them. This not only gives them a sense of satisfaction, but it teaches them to deal with problems away from parents.
For young children this could be anything they are learning on their own. If they are working on building blocks, let them make mistakes, let towers fall, let them discover how to rebuild. For older children do not run to school every time they have a bad grade. If the grade is unfair, they may
have to deal with, accept it and decide how to make things better. Actually, this is a really good lesson for children and the earlier they learn this lesson, the easier other problems will be in the future.
For all children they could have hurt feelings when they are not included or invited to a party. Do NOT try to fix the problem. This is a good lesson to all of us. The Bible tells us our friends will let us down. When need to learn when these things happen God is always with us. There will be many times we feel
others have let us down, we need to step back and let our children learn to cope with this. Interestingly, this will serve them well when they experience so many of life’s disappointments.
For us we MUST let our children experience hurt, disappointment, and loss. The hurts of young children, we could fix and make them go away, but we are not teaching them or preparing them for the hurts to come in life.
Pray for your children and yourself that you will have the courage and strength to allow them to experience suffering and pain when it is small, so that when they experience the big suffering and pain, they are equipped to turn to God. Pray with your children when they are
going through these times instill in them, that you have confidence in them and their strength to deal with problems. Teach them God will carry them through. When they get through their little trials of childhood, they will look back and see how God carried them through and know He will be there for the bigger trials that lay ahead.