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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Building Resiliency in My Children and Other Lessons I Hate Learning

It’s Super Bowl Sunday!  It’s flu-season!

After weeks of keeping my kids away from possible sources of flu-contagion, the flu came right to me.  (Deadly flu-pandemic with extra olives ordered here?  No?)

I kept Ellie home from school Wednesday out of a gut feeling there might be flu germs circulating.  I usually trust my gut it rarely steers me wrong.

And then the lady that helps me clean the house from time to time showed up with her daughter, home sick from school.  Her 12 year old daughter who looked like a Bubonic plague victim from the 1600’s complete with bloodshot eyes, blotchy skin and a fever I could feel from the door.  

I said…I will keep the flu away!  And God said…I will bring it in your house then!  Are we having fun now?

*Sigh.  What can you do?  She’s a single mom she’s supposed to leave her sick daughter at home by herself?  Of course not.  What’s the lesson here?  

What is the lesson here?  

I feel like I’m being nudged to a conclusion but I may be too stubborn to accept it.  Control is an illusion?  God has a wicked sense of humor?  Shielding someone you love from every negative occurrence is not only useless but possibly detrimental?

I recently had a conversation with a friend about resiliency in our children.  As in, we’re not building resiliency in our children when we helicopter-parent.  There has been rampant, actual pandemic levels of depression and anxiety in our teenagers and it feels as contagious as the flu.

I can’t protect them from everything out there.  But maybe I shouldn’t.  Everything ‘out there’ may just be acting in concert with God to build internal strength.  There may be no good or bad experiences, only those we learn from and those we don’t.  And I really want to learn the lessons.

Not being a hard shield and buffer between ‘the world’ and the children I am in charge of protecting is like asking me to stop my heart from beating.  Ready?  Go!  No?

I can’t protect them from everything bad that could happen.  And I probably shouldn’t.  That is a truth.  

What I need to do is spend my energy and time building their inner landscapes and resources so that when something (or someone) knocks them down, they dust off their little knees, straighten their little chins, and get back up again.  

Same shielding concept, different focus.  Turning my little spotlight from all the shadows out there and using it to shore up the innate strength and light inside them.  

In the process I’m reminding myself of my own unique resourcefulness and optimism.  I can do this.  We can do this!


“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”  Nelson Mandela