The other day I told my husband that in the future I think I’ll look back on this current season of life as my favorite—this season of staying home with my babies. He looked at me surprised, and said, “But you’re always talking about how hard it is.” My first thought is that I probably needed a little attitude adjustment if that’s his impression. But second, it made me realize that hard things are often the best things, and there’s probably a life lesson in there I should share with my kids—and with you!
In today’s culture of immediate gratification and technological ease, we—I—don’t always see the value or benefit of just plain hard work. We want the work we put in now to yield results right away, and if they don’t, we—I—tend to give up or feel frustrated. This is something the millennial generation in particular has gotten a bad rap for, but there’s probably some truth in it for all of us.
I want to make sure my kids know that hard is not bad and that hard can lead to good, and often does. There are different kinds of hard and life is full of them, so we need to be prepared and not surprised when they come.
There’s good old-fashioned hard work that we use when we’re committing ourselves to a task—any task—whether it’s succeeding in school, learning a new skill, investing in a relationship, or doing physical labor. The best things in life usually come if we’ve worked hard for them. If we do the work, without the hard, we miss out on the fruit of those efforts. Hard work pays off. It’s an old and simple adage, but it will always hold up.
There’s also hard that comes with being a human on planet earth. The hard that we simply have to endure. The surprising things that every one of us will face that show up unexpectedly and deal us an unwelcome hand. Illness, loss, addiction, failure… We will all face something that will cause us to look up one day and think, “I never thought my life would look like this.” These are times when hard can either sink us or strengthen us. In these times I’ll share with my kiddos a Trusted Source that tells us this kind of hard “produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Three years into this parenting gig and I already see my inclinations to shelter my kids from all the hard. “No honey, our dog went to live on a farm.” “Ok, I’ll pick up the blocks for you—again.” “No biggie, you can just wear diapers forever.” It’s a small scale right now, but these are the hard things they need to learn, and it’s my hard to teach them. The issues will certainly get tougher from here, and if I want my kids to wear hard well, I need to wear it well myself.
So the lesson? Do the hard things. Work hard and it will pay off. Persevere through the harder stuff and you’ll be refined. Hard happens and how we respond reflects our character.
And now, to go out on a lighter note, cue Kelly Clarkson.
Sorry, just had to.