So I wrote last night about the idea that we are pushing ourselves and our kids into unnecessary challenges for the sake of the lessons learned from making it through.
We all know recognizing or admitting a problem is only the first p resolving it.
So I know we worship adversity and the triumph we hope it brings Why? The root is still love, wanting the best. We have declared in order comfort and encourage that those who've been through truly harrowing trauma will be OK. They will be better than OK! They are stronger and wiser for this horrible misfortune.
Well we want to be strong and wise, too! We want our children to be strong and wise, right? We sold that recovery by sheer will is so possible that it has clouded the truth that it is possible and desirable to become strong and wise in other ways, too.
So, if it is not through adversity that we gain these valuable and coveted character traits, the how?
And these truly are valuable character traits. Real Adversity does exist and to have generous helpings of strength and wisdom sure would help!
For our children, let's try equipping. Arming them for the inevitable battles that will come about without any foolish wanderings into the darkness. Again, how?
Well, first, set a good example. You avoid needless adversity and make it through the unavoidable trials with your integrity in tact. Show them the wisdom it takes to see trouble before your up to your waste in it. And if it besets you, don't panic. Keep your eyes on Christ, move carefully, don't abandon principles of character. Do your best and admit your failings.
Another thing we can do is teach Truth as facts--as the only facts that really matter. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them about God and Jesus. Teach them about eternal perspective. Teach them about the sermon on the mount. Move their focus outside themselves. Soften their hearts to the plights of others. Teach them to rely on Christ for all things. Teach them the importance of family, and that saving face with friends, or preserving a friendship by doing something wrong isn't worth the friendship.
That will give them roots to which they can confidently grip when the wind blows.
Some who have learned by adversity swear by it. I know people who can't seem to learn any other way. They don't see other people's mistakes as warnings. They don't see red flags. They just have to touch the stove to see if it is really as hot as everyone says it is. I grieve for these people.
While adversity may be an excellent teacher, think about this: not everyone recovers from every addiction, affliction or abusive relationship. Some never return from the woods. Some do, but with scars so deep that they are forever unrecognizable from the person who first entered the forest.
And for those who emerge better, strong, wiser...the time they spent clawing their way out, going to the school of hard knocks, how else could that time have been spent??
Learning? (You know--something other that drugs are bad, you can't change mean and selfish people, that kind of thing. I mean learning about Shakespeare, Fibonocci and Madam Curie.) Growing? Developing into healthy well-rounded people? Serving??
Serving!! You mean, focused on someone else?? Crazy! Aren't teens supposed to be terminally self centered? Isn't that normal? Maybe, but it sure ain't healthy and the mindset does nothing to protect them against needless adversity. Normal has never been a lofty goal--unless your life has been one trial after another, that is.
Get them into service. Let them see the pain of adversity. Let them help those who need it. Let them learn by seeing the consequences second hand. And being in service works as a nice time filler--meaning less time is available to go getting into first hand trouble!