Children today struggle. They struggle with entitlement, they struggle with self-motivation, and they suffer from an "I can't do it" handicap. And it's our fault. The parents, us, we've created and fostered this generation of humans that have no idea how to struggle. Maybe it's time to rethink our gameplan....maybe it's time to let our children struggle.
You see, struggle and suffering build character. Struggle and suffering encourage critical thinking and fosters eventual gratefulness. Struggle and suffering has the potential to make our children see their brokenness and failure and they may just recognize their need for a Savior. It just may encourage them to go deeper and further solidify a relationship with their Maker.
Holding our child's hand thru each and every potentially hard thing they may encounter is encouraging the handicap. It starts with giving in to their every scream and whine at the toddler stages. Toddler wants juice and a cookie for dinner instead of the milk and 3 course meal you made, so for the good of the moment and to quench out the toddler tantrum blaze, you give in. Congratulations, you've just given your child a reward for their academy award performance. Child files this one away for next time and will perform similarly at next desire.
Then as they grow, you may encounter the "I can't do it" whiney stage. I personally have one of these in my household. He not so much can't do what I've asked, it's that he doesn't want to take the time to do so. So day in and day out I have to give him a dose of "mommy isn't doing it for you" served up with a hefty plate full of determination and patience and let him partake of those things.
Most kids nowadays don't even recognize or know the words struggle or suffer. I have a sweet friend that has a Kindergarten age son that has had cancer for years now. I have never met her child personally, but I know he is something super special. He would run circles around my boys when it comes to thankfulness and endurance. He knows what it's like to suffer and endure and to stay strong. I think him having cancer is absolutely horrible and we pray for him everyday to be healed...even my boys do....but I don't think he's learned strength just because of the cancer. His parents are incredible. They mirror Christ through every hospital stay, every post on Facebook, and are truly grateful to God despite the cancer that has gripped their young son. I've never heard of them mocking God, getting angry with Him, or wishing this time away because as far as I've witnessed, they give glory to God anyway. That's a witness. That's the example all children need. Parents, who in the midst of suffering, choose to display a picture of Christ that most of us have never encountered in today's world.
Instead of handing our children material items and overindulging them with gadgets and the latest fad, equip them with the spiritual tools they will need to fight their own battles.
I find it ridiculously sad and embarrassing when most college grads expect to be hired soon after receiving their diploma. Not only that, they expect a job that exactly corresponds to their degree and expect a salary they feel that piece of paper entitles them to. And since these kids don't know what to do when life isn't handed to them on that silvery platter, some panic and become bitter. They turn down every job that doesn't meet their astronomical expectations. Just because you have a four year degree doesn't make you immediately hireable. You gotta develop your skill, your craft, your drive to start at the bottom and determine to be the best you can be.
Parents, we have to let our children know suffering, know disappointment, understand that not everything is "yes, and I'll hold your hand and buy you this" all at once. What does that teach a child but to expect the world owes them something? Be a good example of what a sufferer should be: show them your faith, show them that when your strength fails you, God is enough, encourage them to ready for battle by memorizing verses that will benefit them in the midst of their suffering. Because your child will suffer....in this life it'll happen...no way around it. And when it happens, and they're alone, will they know how to rise above it? It's up to you....be their teacher, not their wheelchair.