I call it my mommy heart. My desire for all of my children to feel loved drives me. I want the best for each of them. I want them to feel special. I want them to know how important they are. I want to nourish and encourage their strengths. I want to guide them through their weaknesses. My mommy heart desires each child be free from the pressures of perphection. I want them to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. I earnestly seek ways to draw the best in each of them to the surface like a gold miner panning for gold. I want them to live life to the fullest, reach their destinies, and pursue their dreams.
It is when bad things happen that my mommy heart kicks in to overdrive. I want to stick my children in a bubble, and keep them from any and all pain. I see it in their eyes; the feeling of loss, a deep indescribable sadness, and a sense of helplessness. I wish to swoop in and save the day. I wish to comfort them and take all of their pain away. I wish to protect them and help them avoid hurt in every way. I learned years ago, this is not only impossible, it is unhealthy. It teaches our children bad coping mechanisms. It also sets them up for failure.
Unfortunately, in life bad things happen; some parents get divorced; some of our closest pets die; sometimes we move away from our friends and family… the list goes on and on. Bad things simply happen. When they do, the hurt can feel overwhelming. The pain can be intense. Our greatest fears can surface and the world can feel unsafe. So many of us have endured great hardships. To act as if we haven’t sets up a false reality for our children to live in. To dwell on our hardships causes us to live impaired. To walk out our hurt with our eyes focused in gratitude teaches victory.
Showing empathy in the middle of our child’s pain is vital. Being compassionate as we listen to them process their hurt will bring healing. Not always knowing the answers is okay. Often times sacrificing our desire to provide understanding can liberate us all from false perceptions and dogma. Allowing our children to walk through their pain leaves less emotional scars, like ointment on an open wound.
Medicating our children’s emotional pain covers it up. Things rarely get resolved like a broken bone that never got reset and cast properly. This often times leads to addictions whether it be shopping, eating disorders (including overeating), alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.. Teaching our children to avoid pain can lead to seclusion, isolation, and loneliness. Fretting about the unknown can lead to irrational fears, wild imaginations, and lofty thoughts. Things that don’t kill us can make us stronger. However, they can make us callus, bitter, angry, or passive as well.
We don’t have to be our children’s savior either. They already have one. He promised to send a comforter. He said, He will never leave us, nor forsake us. As we look to Him as our source, we show them how to do the same. By this we can give our children the tools to have more self-control so they will not try to constantly live on artificially stimulated emotional highs. It takes courage to hold our children’s hand, look them in the eye, and say you can do this; I will be right here with you; I will coach you through to manage your pain; I am sorry it hurts so bad, but you are not alone. I know, because I too have endured pain. Like the sunshine behind the clouds, joy will come in the morning.