August 19,2019 The Perfect Storm – Building Resilient Kids
Last week I started a series on The Perfect Storm. We are running into a crisis today as parents. Like the movie, “The Perfect Storm” the 1991 account of the fishing trawler, “Andrea Gail” consisted of a crew of hard-working dedicated fisherman going out to find a big catch and got caught in an overwhelming storm. Weather reports revealed a tropical hurricane that came up from Bermuda which collided with a cold front from the Great Lakes, creating 100-foot waves and sinking the fishing boat resulting in a "perfect storm".
Parents today have been caught off guard with a perfect storm. In this series of articles, we will look at the crisis today in the American family and look at what needs to happen to rescue the family from the destructive patterns that we face.
Last week I talked about “The Perfect Storm”, due to Cultural Changes, specifically the lack of resiliency in children today.
A second “Perfect Storm” is a need to always make sure our children are happy. This goes along with last week’s topic, lack of resiliency in children today. When you parent out of fear or needing your children’s constant approval you will want to make sure they are always happy and never have them face difficult feelings or struggles. The truth is if you want happy kids, you’ll help them walk through difficult times, not rescue them from real human emotions, like sadness. Sadness is associated with making sense out of things that don’t make sense. It may be grieving a loss, feeling helpless or hopeless, or events that turned out differently than we thought they would.
What good parent would not be sad for their child that is going through a difficult time. Difficult times are difficult. The mindset as parents need to be not to “rescue” or “fix” but to walk through difficult times with our children. As parents we need to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy for our child. Sympathy says, I feel sorry for you and for your problem. Empathy says I feel sorry and I will come along side you to walk with you. Matthew 9:36 – “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” You can see the difference when he saw the crowds. He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless but He didn’t rescue them. Ephesians 6:4 instructs us as parents. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” We need to help our child understand what happened, why it happened and come up with new thoughts as to where they go from this point. Most children are familiar with “Think Sheets”. Many schools offer Think Sheets to help children problem solve. The simple purpose of a Think Sheet is to help a child think through a problem and come up with their own resolve. You as a parent may have a very good answer for your child’s problem but how do you help them problem solved so they learn and grow. Very often as parents we run out of time and it’s easy to respond with “because I told you so”. How do you help them find a good answer to their problem? How do you help them come up with the idea?
Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.
God says, let us think through this issue of sin and forgiveness, “come let us reason together.”
If it’s your idea children will not learn as well as if you helped them develop their own ideas. Today we have a lot of young adults that have not learned to reason or problem solve. They feel life is unfair and get angry and resentful instead of trying to problem solve because no one will fix their problem. In reality we are teaching children to become co-dependent on us for answers. Or co-dependent on the world to solve their problems for them.
So, what’s the answer? Just as God invites you to, “Come let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), as a parent you need to approach your child with the same mindset. “Come let us reason together: ” You need to help your child look at the pros and cons of their decision so they can learn how to come up with correct answers in life. Take the time to listen, understand and help them walk through difficult times.