Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debunking America's Favorite Word

There are a lot of things we love here in this big 'ole US of A. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is the place of opportunity.

But I'm wondering if we are rounding a bend. If maybe some things are shifting in our climate and change is waiting to happen just up ahead. 

And it has nothing to do with politics.

From my breezy front porch in the country, I'm listening to the cars speed by and I'm watching my kids ride their wheels and I'm thoroughly enjoying my place in the country and in this country. 

Maybe you feel the same way. It's not perfect of course, but it's a good life, this one we live. 

What brought us to this place? How did we end up here? Why is it that I get to enjoy an evening on my front porch and you get to enjoy a Saturday morning on your patio?

Would I be in this spot without hard work? Without the drill sergeant of the daily grind? Would you? Because we have worked hard, people. Not just at a 9 to 5, but at most everything. The relationships that we most enjoy have taken a lot of work. The character that keeps those relationships has taken a lot of work. Mastering our schedules so we can enjoy the rest of our lives takes work. 

We work hard. 

And look where it has gotten us.

Effort brings about good results.

We can appreciate that in our lives, right? We believe the effort and the struggle and the hard work is worth it because we see the results. 

We are so glad we earned that degree when it would have been much easier to party with our friends.

We don't regret getting out of bed to work that early shift that put food on our family's table.

We are grateful for the acts of discipline that keep our bodies functioning well and our spirits alive.

We really believe that the effort is worth it. But how far does that belief go?

I see this tendency in myself and I see it in parents around me. We don't want our kids to have to do the difficult. We prefer smooth sailing for them with no trouble and without breaking a sweat. 

When we hear of a bad day or of girl drama or of a swollen football injury, we say "I'm sorry, Sweetie." Because we are. 

We aren't bad parents, we are good parents. Zero great parents relish watching their kids struggle. {0} But if we want to be great parents, we must learn to watch our kids struggle with the difficult and not step in and fix it for them. 

We watch our child retake a class because of lame effort the first time around.
We allow our kids to earn their own money for their own projects.
We say no to the smart phone because we aren't afraid of how unpopular that will make our teen.
We don't interfere with the consequences our kids have rightly earned. 

And we don't shame the difficult. 

Is Easy what we really want?

If it came right down to it and a blue genie floated our way, would we really ask for every struggle to be taken from our little descendants' lives?

We wouldn't. Deep down, we all recognize one big truth:

Our kids need to do the hard things.

If a generation grows up believing that Hard is gross and avoidable, how will this place that we love change? How will relationships change? Will marriages cling together if everyone is afraid of hard work? House payments are hard.

We aren't terrible parents, we are GOOD parents. We have eyes to see into the big wide future and we love those kids enough to push them beyond just being comfortable. 

Easy, we are on to you. 
We know you are not all that you brag about being. We see through you.

And Difficult, we see you too. We have been oh-so-tempted to fire you, to give you the cold shoulder and look at you with short-sighted vision. 

But we won't. 

The hard, 
   the arduous
              the demanding 
     and the laborious, 
we promise not to slam the door on you when you knock, asking for our children. 

Yes, it is hard to watch them reap the fruit of their poor choices and slog through life's unfair challenges. 

But it will be worth it. For the sake of our children and their's after them. For the sake of this country and our communities, the effort will be worth it.

Difficulty produced beauty in us, and we want to see that same beauty in our children.

What hard things are your kids walking through?
Experienced parents, what good things do you currently see in your children as a result of previously doing difficult things?

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