Years ago I found myself in the middle of a decision. And I agonized over it. Would I say ‘yes’ to an opportunity that would only happen once in a lifetime or stay home with my tween who had a birthday that weekend?
Today, I find myself in a similar situation. This time my kid is a 20-something who will have just had major surgery a week prior. Do I dare go on the learning opportunity trip that is already paid for or should I stay home to take care of him?
And, of course, I’m feeling the weight of my decision. After all, I’m a mom. Being there for my kid is my calling in life.
Yet, I want to go on my trip. Isn’t it good for me to go be my own person? Aren’t my needs important too?
For me, it’s a battle of wanting to take care of my son while also wanting to take care of me. And I fret over these decisions. Neither answer gives me everything I want.
This past week I was on a call with my life coach. He’s helping me be a better version of me. Taking the time to help me figure out what my calling in life truly is, my coach will sometimes ask me the hard questions. His question hit the bulls-eye making me pause.
“Why is it that you don’t want your son to have any pain in his life?”
Talk about feeling like my heart was being shattered into a million pieces. Is that really what my actions said to the world?
The silence in answering my coach was deafening as I pondered my response. I had to deeply consider my thoughts and the choices I was making.
Is it true that I don’t want my son to have any pain in his life?
At surface level, my first reaction was, “of course I don’t want pain in his life”. No one wants to endure pain or see someone they love in pain.
Yet, is that the way God parents us? Is that a realistic way to live?
If we want our kids to grow, mature, and become over-comers, they need to learn to deal with pain. It’s part of life.
And the more pain we endure, the stronger we become once we’re on the other side of it. It is through our pain and disappointments in life that we become more compassionate toward others who are dealing with difficult situations.
I’m reminded of the parent who takes away a child’s toy because he hit his sister with it. And then the mom feels guilty for taking away the toy, so she offers up ice cream to soothe the tears. With that, she is trying to make up for the pain she’s inflicted.
And as I ponder that scenario, I wonder if I’m the person who feels the pain most? Have I been the one who hasn’t gotten over painful things in my past that I just assume that my tween, teen, or 20-something will feel what I’ve felt? Are my parenting actions and need to be there for my child more about me than the circumstance?
Is it that I feel the need to control every potential happening so that my teen won’t endure heartache, pain, or disappointment?
And if I am always there to ease the pain, will my child fail to depend on God in these situations?
Sometimes pondering the difficult questions will make us stronger as a parent. When we react and make decisions based on trying to ease potential pain in our kid’s life, we may be standing in God’s path for our child’s maturity.