Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. James 1:2-4
I took my kids out to lunch at a local restaurant last week. We sat in a big circular booth by the front window. As we played Story Cubes together, I saw car after car drop kids off in the parking lot, and drive away. Then the big group of boys and girls came in, and all squeezed into the circular booth right beside us.
I saw Zack whisper something to Mason. But other than that, the group had no impact on him at all. When it came time for him to tell a story he made up based on the pictures he rolled on the Story Cubes, he was his usual self, no awkwardness whatsoever.
When I asked him about it, he said, “I used to care. But enough kids have been mean to me that I don’t care what anyone thinks of me anymore.” And he meant it.
At the same time that my heart was breaking for him, I had the utmost admiration for him too. It took me until I was in my forties to reach the point where I no longer cared what others thought. It’s the most freeing feeling in the world. Imagine being just twelve years old and getting there already?
As only God can time these things, our priest had just given a sermon on “adversity building character.” His point was, we all have a choice when we bump up against an issue. We can either choose to become bitter, or we can choose to find the lesson in the hardship, and then grow from what we learn. Clearly my son chose to learn and grow.
As we drove home from the restaurant that day, I told Zack how enormously proud I was of him. I also told him that although I wish he hadn’t had to go through what he did, he was now thirty years ahead of me in the not-caring-what-people-think department. Kudos to him!
If we could, every single one of us mothers would take our kids’ pain on ourselves. But that isn’t God’s plan. Not only does He want to perfect us, He wants to perfect our children too. Since we all learn more from the difficult than we do from the easy, our kids will have hardships to face, whether we like it or not. As they are happening, the best we can do is be there beside them, and pray them through to the other side.