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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Struggle

Don't mistake me for a  masochist, hear me out.

There's a student at Monmouth College who was highlighted in our local newspaper recently (read the article here). He's trying to make it into the music business as a performer. Apparently he's had some breakthroughs and may indeed be on his way to making a name for himself. That's cool, right?

The journalist asked why is the student in college studying if he had his sight set on playing. He replied he is learning the business side of the industry as well because in the chance he doesn't "make it" he wants a career to fall back on; music management.

Smart, right?

I thought so too. Until I read his quote, "I am getting older. My parents don't want me to graduate (and struggle). It is a difficult road to follow," he said, adding he has worked to learn "as many different aspects of the music business as possible.


Which makes me ask the question:

Why are we so afraid of the struggle?

So many people spend so much time and effort avoiding difficulty and/or work ceaselessly to never struggle.

Isn't that exhausting?

I mean really? You can't ever actually avoid difficulty in life anyway.

When my children were learning to walk I let them practice walking. They had to struggle to learn how to put one foot in front of the other, to test the muscles in their legs to see if they'd hold up under their weight, they had to strain and work and sometimes, almost all the time, especially at first - they fell down.

And I didn't pick them up. I stood by, encouraged them to do it over again. I literally encouraged them to try to walk again knowing full well they would probably fall. Fail. Again.

As parents we know if kids don't work through the struggle of learning to walk - they won't learn to walk.

Likewise if we don't let our kids work through the struggle of
relationships
friendships
brokenness
unfair treatment
dashed expectations
and disappointments

how will they ever learn?

My thirteen year old son (oh, he was such a cute little baby) has biceps. Like, for-real muscles. I know because he shows them off to us on a daily basis. Every Tuesday and Thursday in gym class his instructor takes the class to the weight room. When E.first started lifting weights he could only lift the 40 pound bar. Now, after a semester, only two other boys in the whole 7th grade can lift more than him. He's very proud of this fact and he's aiming to be the record holder by the end of the year.

My son has learned the only way to lift more weight is to add more weight -little by little- to his limit. He must consciously make his work harder in order to get better. He must struggle.

He learned how to walk by struggling.
He is getting stronger by struggling.
Maybe I should learn a lesson here and not be afraid to let him struggle in other areas.
But God, as a parent doesn't it just rip your heart out when your kid is trying and failing and is disappointed?

The strength we gain from a struggle however, is the reason why we should let our kids do their homework on their own
so they can see and fix their mistakes
and why we shouldn't buy them everything they want
so they can appreciate the value of a dollar
and why when they go off to college
we understand that if it's hard for them that it will be ok because they are learning
and getting stronger.

It doesn't make it easy for us to watch our kids struggle
but we have a great assurance in knowing it is making them stronger.

Don't be afraid of hard.
Don't run from it.
Wade in little by little or dive in - whatever you brave,
but no matter what, I implore you don't run from struggle.
Don't run.
Struggle.
And come out stronger.
Much, much stronger.





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1 comment:

  1. A very interesting post!

    I agree with much of what you've said. My life lessons (and the struggle) have definitely taken me to a place where I'm better able to handle the next challenge that crops up. While I'm not holding up a sign that says, "c'mon over, let me have it," I'm definitely in a position to pick myself up because I've done it so many times before. :)

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