Remember those fairy tales of our youth where the ending was always so uplifting? “And they lived happily ever after.” How many of you are living a happily ever after life? Me neither.
Certainly when my husband and I got married and had our two beautiful children it never occurred to us that he would get cancer. Life is messy.
And sometimes the choices we make can be messy as well.
Part of the joy I have in writing about Selena and her cohorts in the Shadow Realm series is the fact that Selena doesn’t always make the best choices. Just like real life – the consequences are sometimes undesirable and can even put us in harm’s way. Perhaps our circumstances are not as dire as Selena as she lives between the mortal and shadow realms facing certain death around every corner; but life can get tough.
As I have watched my children grow into young adults I have had the privilege of being the fly on the wall; listening as they work out problems with their friends and attempt to make good choices. Let me start out by saying that they are good kids and have wonderful friends and I am so very proud of the adults they have become. However, they haven’t always made the decisions I would have made for them.
That is the really messy part of being a parent.
When your kids are newborn and just learning about themselves and their surroundings, you wish they were older and could communicate to you what hurts or why they are crying. “If only they were teens, then life would be so much easier.”
As those of you of teens know; the teen years can be much harder than when they were in diapers. The tears are for much more emotional reasons and the pain can be devastating. As parents, we have to trust that we have instilled in our children the power of knowing right from wrong and the strength to make the tough choices. When they were young, we could make the decisions for them, but as they get older we have to stand by and watch as they make decisions for themselves.
Michael Strahan, pro football player, Hall of Famer and talk show host on the Emmy award winning show Live with Kelly and Michael, recently talked about this part of parenting.
The discussion was around money and how often times family will come to him, knowing he is wealthy, and ask for money. His answer? “No.”
Although he could fix whatever their financial issue is, he believes that people need to learn the lessons for themselves or they will never fully appreciate all they have or be able to successfully stand on their own.
That is a tough lesson.
Now I am not suggesting that you throw your kids out the door or deny them something you believe they need; I’m just saying that sometimes life is hard.
My best advice is to listen. Too often we want to jump in with the answers or the solution or even take over and fix it for them. But just like Selena Goodwin in the Shadow Realm series, when they are able to make their own decisions; regardless of the outcome, they stand just a little bit taller.
Be there. Listen. Love. Comfort.
Life may be messy, but this too shall pass. Here is a scripture that provides assurance:
11 I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.
Jeremiah 29:11New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)