The reality of life is that it sometimes throws lemons at us and how we deal with them will determine an integral part of our life story. The lemons vary; it could be loss of a loved one, loss of a job, broken relationships, illness, etc. The question is how do you deal with it? Do you become sour and let these experiences negatively colour the rest of your life or do you make lemonade; mourn, learn and move on, albeit sometimes with a limp.
A friend was sharing a story about a friend of his who was a gifted soccer player. By the age of 17, he had been scouted to play with the national Kenyan team, Harambee Stars. Luckily for the guy, his headmaster at the time insisted that even as he pursued his dream to play soccer internationally he had to focus on his studies as well. The young man played only two international matches before he broke his leg. The break was terrible and he was no longer as good a player as he had been thus ending his dream before it even truly began. Fortunately for him, he had a fall back plan through his academic prowess and was able to build a career on another field.
All of us have tales of our own hard times: seasons when life was a school of hard knocks. Some of us graduated well, others got stuck. As a parent, I am learning that some of these difficult seasons give me the perfect opportunity to teach my children how to deal with life’s unexpected (and sometimes expected) blows. My children watched my mom battle with cancer and the rest of us deal with her death less than a year later. It was a dark dark period. Yet I am convinced that being part of the process helped them begin to deal with the reality of their own mortality and begin asking questions about the hereafter; an integral part of our Christian faith as a family. They have also watched their dad and I deal with deployment, retrenchment, setting up a company, losing a pregnancy and many other life hiccups. We allow them to, because we know the value of realising this journey is never one smooth ride.
It can be tricky sometimes realising that little eyes are watching, little ears listening and little minds learning. Yet it forces us to make lemonade when we would have otherwise wanted to rave and rant and give up. We are committed to giving them a head start and we recognise that it needs to be in the right direction. As a parent you don’t have the luxury of quitting if you want to be successful. You learn to plod on and make the best of it and as your child grows, they develop the necessary psychological muscles to do likewise. So do not curse at the hard times when they come knocking, recognise them for what they are; valuable opportunities to empower your child with the necessary tools to be successful no matter what.