The Storms of Parenting

The Storms of Parenting September 1, 2017

This week, Hurricane Harvey has proven to be quite a force to reckon with. He is both fierce and ferocious in his ability to cause major damage to an entire coastal region. What a dangerous and destructive storm, both unprecedented and historic in several ways.

But raising kids can also put us in similar turmoil physically, emotionally, and mentally. Raising kids well requires a lot of sacrifice. We need to spend money, time, and resources on our kids. It’s commonly considered to be “the toughest job I’ve ever had.” And usually, these words come from the mouths of mature adults who seem to have done a fabulous job with their own kids. Their adult children appear to be successful, productive, contributing members of the community. And the hallmark of a job well done is when these parents remain in a warm relationship with their adult children. In my book, that makes them successful parents.

If these successful parents are saying that it’s hard, what less can I expect of my own journey? Because of the words of these experienced, wiser folks, it somewhat comforts me to have my doubts. In fact, I’ve had plenty of doubts this week during the aftermath of the hurricane.

That’s because I was so hopeful and happy that Americans, especially Texans, were coming together in such brotherly love and concern for each other. Men, women, young, old, rich, poor, black, white, and all colors in between were working selflessly, sacrificially to help one another. There were no divisions, no politics, only love and care. Neighbors helped neighbors, communities helped communities, out of town Texans came down to volunteer in the flooded areas. I heard from out of state Americans and even a friend from another country. To top it off, a fellow good Samaritan group called to see where is the greatest need so they can drive 18 hours down to Houston, Texas to volunteer. I was elated and heartwarmed.

This made me all the more disappointed that my kids didn’t show christian love and compassion for their fellow neighbors. In fact, they weren’t even showing brotherly love as they were constantly griping and bickering with one another going stir crazy at home. And when I told them about the community’s needs, none jumped at the chance to volunteer their funds or their time to bless others. They just wanted to play electronics all day and complain about who got more time on certain gadgets. And when they saw the need while volunteering, instead of growing a heart for the victims or new grateful attitude for the blessings in their lives, they wanted to hurry home to play again.

Naturally, the questions came to mind:  Will they grow out of this selfish, egotistical stage? Will they develop a heart of forgiveness and grace for one another? Will they be compassionate neighbors ready and willing to help when the need arise? Or will they stay in this selfish, egotistical stage of life even as adults?

And then I remembered that my parenting concerns and frustrations, though not trivial, are not a category 1 hurricane. They are not even in the vicinity of tropical storm status. My parenting anguish and distress are more like a downpour of rain–unpleasant, inconvenient, but definitely not a major, life changing stressor. Those parents have to deal with permanent disabilities, chronic pain and serious medical issues, legal problems and special needs that could or would hinder their child’s ability to live independently or productively.

What a nightmare that would be for any parent. God bless them and give the rest of us perspective. It would be like Hurricane Harvey never left. It would be like there’s no calm after the storm, no beautiful, peaceful rainbows to look forward to.

What about you–have you had to weather some storms in your parenting journey? If so, how do you rate your storm? What is helping you to get through it?

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