As their mother, I’ve acutely felt their pain in my heart, in my mind and in my insomnia as each of my three boys has walked through some painful times and general discontentment recently.
What our whole family continues to learn through this season of unhappiness remains fourfold:
1.) Vital lessons are learned in the struggle that can only be learned through the struggle.
2.) Everyone needs a friend.
3.) There’s good in bad times.
4.) Prayer is powerful when we may feel powerless.
First, I continue to witness amazing character development in my children as they’ve struggled. Even when they’ve wished to run away or hide, they stood their ground and responded with maturity.
Now they know the next time they’re faced with overwhelming odds, they can draw on these present experi-ences to stand firm. They did it once. They can do it again.
Second, they’ve discovered that walking beside several true friends — even when other “friends” failed them — also makes the journey easier over rough terrain. Often, much to their surprise, their truest friends proved to be their parents.
Third, searching for the good in bad events refocuses their eyes off themselves today by seeing better outcomes coming tomorrow.
Finally, praying continues to be the only answer in hard times for our family. Continuously, we’ve seen an-swered prayers that upheld us even when our circumstances didn’t immediately change for the better.
As mothers, we can choose to teach our children that in the midst of troubles there are valuable lessons:
• Struggling makes us stronger.
• Friends may either fail or befriend us.
• Look for the good in bad circumstances.
• Prayer changes things by changing us.
How we respond as mothers — whether we worry, want control or willingly wait to see how our children handle unhappiness and grow from it — can sooth a season of unhappiness.
And even a fresh chocolate chip cookie will help!