I Can Do Hard Things

Today I had a new friend tell me that her motto is, "I Can Do Hard Things". I liked that.

I think often in life we are asked to do hard things or deal with hard situations. Maybe it is to run an organization of youth while we are seriously ill or maybe it is learning how to effectively raise a difficult child. Possibly someone close to you has died or you have been unfairly wronged or hurt by someone or some situation. Maybe you have a teacher with whom you don't see eye to eye. Your challenge could be that you so desperately want children that others so easily seem to get, but are tragically unable to. Or maybe, for a million other reasons, your life is just plain hard.

But, you know what? That's ok, because life isn't supposed to be easy. If it was, what would be the point? What could we possibly learn from a life of constant ease and happiness? There would be no comparison, no contrast, no lessons to grow from or goals to work towards.

I have had my fair share of hardships in life, and I'm sure I'm not done. But, I have learned something along the way of life's roller coaster: Everything in life has a lesson and it's my job to find it and learn from it.

When I suffered a series of miscarriages, I learned that others too have suffered like I did and I gained strength and hope from listening to their stories and learning from them. I learned that one day, I too would be the success story that could share and encourage others who were suffering. I could let them know that there is hope and the end result will be every bit worth the journey.

When my mother died, I learned that life can change in an instant and so you should live life to the fullest. Tell those you love, that you love them, and never take them for granted.

When I was asked to lead a youth organization while I was so sick I could scarcely feed and care for my one small child, I learned that I am more capable than I think I am. I learned that with the Lord's help, I can accomplish anything. I learned that with His help, I too, can do hard things.

One of the biggest things I have learned from the hardships of life, is that if you look for the lessons, the hardships become more of a learning experience and less of a challenge.

So, next time you are offended by something someone has said, you are stressed about the components of your life, or you are saddened by a tragic event in your life, take courage. Everything in life has a lesson. Look for it and gain strength from the new knowledge you have learned. Grow from it and use it to build up the people around you. Because you too, can do hard things.

Whaddya think?


Just Go Play!

My almost 9 year old, Buster, had a few free minutes before school this morning. He chose to spend his time playing the computer. By the time we left for the bus, he was irritable, snappy and frustrated because the computer "wasn't working". My kids have limited "screen time" and we had quite a structured summer, and still I noticed, that during "no screen" free time, they had a really hard time figuring out what to do. Without the guidance of directions and a screen, they were at a loss of exactly how to spend their time. It took encouragement and threats of locking the door to keep them in the backyard (which is quite spacious with lots of play structures and toys). They'd come in "bored" after only a few minuted of bike riding or shooting hoops. I offered them all kinds of fun activities (board games, legos, cleaning toilets, etc) but they refused to get engaged without threats of bodily harm. Sometimes we need to use a screen to babysit for us so we can get a few things done, but I've noticed that generally I pay for that because the time ends in screaming fights and ornery kids.

I think somewhere in this world of DS's, Wii's, xbox's, computers, ipods and cell phones, our kids have missed out on good, imaginative play. They haven't learned how to problem solve and think for themselves; lessons that are vital to their happiness now and as adults. They are too busy with piano, soccer, basketball and swim lessons (all adult structured activities) to help in the family's garden or spend an afternoon raking leaves. They don't know how to make change and pay cash for purchases (and be fiscally responsible) because everything is paid for with plastic. They don't know how to solve their own boredom. In short, they've missed out on the most important lesson they should have learned while being kids: how to think for themselves. I read one article that said, "[Children] are overseen, supervised, directed and micromanaged from morning until night by well-intentioned adults who claim to care about children but seem to know nothing about childhood. And so, the variable most lacking in the lives of children who currently live in the Land of the Free is freedom itself."

So, its that time of year again when I am getting into my Christmas planning mode and I am at a total loss. I don't want to buy another game system. I would rather not buy anything electronic. I want to give my kids things they will play with and think about, but I don't know where to start. (Which is probably why society is in this mess.) I would love to get them some models to build or help them find things to collect and explore. I've done this in the past and its always flopped. They never played with the toys. So, I'm asking you. How do we help our children become children again?

Whaddya think?