Yesterday, our home teacher and his son from church came to cut down our little redbud tree that no longer had buds…It used to be so pretty. Then, the next year, it was half pretty, half bald. The year after that, no leaves grew. And again, and again this year. So, we bid farewell to the little tree and watched as Forrest cut it down, limb by limb.
Afterwards, he and his son were picking up the big branches and moving them to the side. I asked them to please leave the smaller ones so the boys could do some yard work when they got home from school.
The boys got home, took a quick snack and rest from school break, then got to work. There was arguing and accusations (Jackson’s not working enough! Brennan put his sticks in MY pile!, etc), but they (mostly) got the job done.
About ten minutes into picking up sticks, Ethan comes in, lays on the couch, and declares, “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do hard things! Sticks are such hard things!”
It was quite funny, but it reminded me of a blog I read, about how the mother is always talking about teaching her children the importance of doing hard things. It’s such an important lesson to learn, and one that must be taught at home. Yes, the children will learn hard things at school and “in life”, but it is the foundation we lay for them in the home that will stick with them. How we react to hard things is how they will one day react when placed in hard situations.
Do we let hard times get us down? Make us grumpy? Cause contention?
Or are we able to rise above the hard things and see that there is a lesson to learn and we must endure to the end to be stronger?
I’m not sure what example I set. I can look back at my past “hard times” and see thing I could have done better, and I see ways I did okay. I’ve got to remind myself that I can do hard things, too, when times are tough and I just want to quit.
It’s hard to not be able to take away the hardships of our children. To just erase their sadness or troubles. Picking up sticks is a simple example of having to do a hard thing (for a child)…and one Bart and I could have easily done quickly for them, or that Forrest and his son could have done for us. But, it is a lesson the boys need to learn: To do hard things. To finish what you start. And to endure to the end. Life is not all candy and video games, it is hard work.
Hopefully, by having Ethan get up and go back outside, he will start to learn that he CAN do hard things!