|Take it easy, man.|
Nothing hurts more than seeing your own child suffer. I’ve seen my kids through physical suffering like cuts and stubbed toes, sore throats and the aftermath of surgery. Each incident causes me pain.
When children are emotionally distressed, the hurts are there, but submerged. We’re not sure how deep they go, and the symptoms of a hurting child vary as widely as children do: some cry, others lash out, others are silent and withdrawn. My children exhibit each one of these symptoms when they are hurting inside, and the cures are hard to come by. Long gone are the days when a cry indicated hunger or an uncomfortable diaper. The cures for today’s hurts are more complex, and they are beyond my reach.
I remember what being a kid was like – glee one day, gloom the next. I carried my hurts throughout childhood and into adulthood like cherished possessions I am afraid of using for fear they might break. I call it sensitivity, and I try using it to empathize with my kids about their myriad of hurts. Most times I do not know if my empathy does any good, and it makes me wonder if dragging all that baggage around was for nothing.
Ultimately, I cannot make the hurts stop from happening. Unfortunately, I will have to guide them through the motions of salving hurts that are so similar to mine that I can almost feel them again. Unfortunately, what worked for me will not always work for them. Unfortunately, my kids will have to suffer some things until they work them out on their own.
When my kids work it out, the angels sing. When they don’t, we buckle down, tuck in, and brainstorm another possible solution, another promising cure. All that buckling and tucking is exhausting, but it is worth those few times we hear the songs.