Purpose in the Pain
I think every homeschool parent hesitates—at least in the beginning—to share their children’s academic difficulties for fear of being judged and told they should quit. Of course, we want our kids to do well for their own sake, but when a parent invests so much of themselves into this adventure and lifestyle, we can get self-conscious about swimming upstream. The last thing we need is someone in our ear suggesting it’s been a good run, but now its time to stop kidding ourselves. For the next time you are tempted to give in to the peer pressure that shouldn’t matter (but for some reason today really does), let me encourage you to use the struggles to teach your family a greater lesson. No matter what we’re talking about, when we look at life with wisdom and perspective, there is a purpose in the pain and struggles.
The other night I was trying to explain what I was upset about to my husband but was unsuccessful and not handling it well. Suddenly, the parallel to my daughter’s behavior earlier in the day was blatantly obvious. The struggle that she and I have in dealing with each other (because of our fiery similarities) is what I’ve heard many parents give as the reason they could never homeschool. But that same struggle is what teaches me to be a better mother to her and teaches me how I have to grow. When we are successful at resolving these explosions of emotion or headstrong gridlock, we are becoming more like Christ and gaining skills for life!
As a society that has championed the instantaneous and speed, we just give up too soon. The message that if it doesn’t work out right away, then it probably never will is given through the culture’s attitude toward relationships, toward physical labor, and general health. When it takes work we are more inclined to try for something easier. What a tragedy when we miss the huge blessing and success that could be ours with just a different perspective.
The boy whose father failed him can break the cycle with children of his own. Any academic struggle can bring forth a work ethic that doesn’t come when things are learned with ease. A tragedy can teach coping and genuine empathy in the future. Financial struggles can bring generosity and charity when things have turned around. Any time we find ourselves blocked somehow in teaching our children—butting heads because of personalities, a genuine learning difficulty, or just trying to spark curiosity where there is none—it is a huge opportunity to accomplish something great. The successes in life are where we work through a struggle.
It isn’t the seven-foot-tall guy who happens to be good at basketball that we’re impressed by or the child born into wealth affording college that we say is special. It’s the person born with a physical difficulty who goes on to the Olympics or the great orator who began with a terrible stutter. Overcoming the struggles is what makes us great!
Amy Butler is a disciple of Christ, the wife of an engineer, mother of three, part time piano teacher and a lover of nature. Writing is where all of her passions come together as she struggles to find the WRITE Balance.