Today, in our society, it appears that there is a significant number of individuals who just do not seem to know how to handle "failure, rejection, or just plain disappointment. We see in the news how a jilted lover pursues a former lover to cause harm or even takes their life. The rationale seems to be "If I can't have you, then no one else will" or "I can't bear the thought of seeing you with someone else." Why are there such extreme cases of people responding to "negative" feelings in such an adverse way? These issues are not restricted to any particular race, gender, economic or age group. They have been seen across the board.
Less and less individuals are learning the value of perseverance. Less people are learning how to "tough out" a situation or a phase in their lives. They, instead, are leaning towards the philosophy of "I want it and I want it now!" The idea of hope or a better future does not seem to enter the equation. Instead, the thinking is more along the line of "If I let this situation or individual allude me, I won't have another chance of happiness or a good life." This, of course, is very irrational.
When you look at your child, do you consider what you are doing when you decide to go against your better judgment and give him or her that toy before bed when it is time to wind down? How about when you let the tantrums get you to buy your child the expensive toy that you can't afford to buy or the one that is inappropriate. You decided on an appropriate bed time, yet your child complains and you let him/her stay up an hour later then they should and then in the morning they can't get out of bed for school. These are just a few examples of how, as parents, we can give in to our child's desires but hurt them in the long run.
If a child grows up having his or her way for most of their childhood into their teen years, that formula will spell trouble for that child and trouble for those that he or she will interact with. Why? That individual has learned how "easy" it is to get his or her way. His or her expectation is that "people should facilitate me and give me my way, even it they think it is unreasonable or infeasible." That individual has to learn the value of perseverance. The adults in his or her life, especially the parents/guardians, are the best ones to set him/her on the right track.
What is perseverance? According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, it is something "favorable, suggests continuing strength or patience in dealing with something arduous." Perseverance is not giving up when you face obstacles or tough challenges or pain. It is deciding to move forward toward a worthwhile goal even when it is hard. These are things that children learn early on as toddlers when they are told to share, to wait your turn or sit until mom returns. Children learn perseverance when they play sports. They learn to keep trying until they get better at a task. They learn to keep playing on the team even when they have not won a game yet. They learn to persevere. As parents, the best thing we can do with our children is not to remove the obstacles, but help them overcome them, help them with their perspective.
The Bible shows us that perseverance is a good thing. Consider this passage: "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us..." (Romans 5:3-5, New International Version). The difficult things in life causes us to "suffer." Of course we all have varying ideas of what suffering is. In High School when I experienced my first rejection by a young lady, I "suffered" for about three weeks. I look back and I say, what was that all about? It was just my little ego that was bruised and that's all it was. Back then, though, it was painful. But I survived! Now, when my mother died in 1997, that was one of the most painful things that I experienced in my life. That was a different type of suffering and many more people can agree that most would find that extremely painful, I was close to my mom and I valued her a lot. Day by day I dealt with the pain and continued to persevere and functioned. I read my Bible as always. I prayed and I talked to my family and friends for support. My life did not fall apart but my character got strengthened and my ability to hope has grown.
As parents, we must keep pain and suffering from our children. If they get cut we need to stop the bleeding and prevent infection. If they fall, we help them up. If they are bullied at school, we address the issue at the school so that it stops. But, there are some "suffering" that we must let them experience for the sake of their perseverance, character and their ability to grow in their hope. So it's painful for them to go to bed on time, let them "suffer," it will make them stronger. So it's painful for them to wait their turn, let them "suffer." So it's painful to clean their room daily, let them "suffer." So its painful to not have the same clothes that other people are wearing, let them "suffer." You, I'm sure go through a lot of painful things (go to work when you don't want to) that you would prefer not to go through for the sake of your family. Your child has to learn that also. It will only do him or her good.
Let your child experience the difficult things that will teach him or her discipline, patience, honor, the things that will help your child become a man or woman of character. Your child could become the person that says, no matter what, I will strive to do the things that are right even if it hurts, that is a person of character. We look at the people that we admire and I guarantee you that they are people that have gone through challenging things and they persevered and accomplished what they believed was worth accomplishing. We love to hear survival stories, how someone made it in the wilderness or a dessert "against all odds." Our children can learnt to persevere and it will not kill them, it will only prepare them for greater things in life. They don't need to be the individuals who's life falls apart because they lost their first job or lover or because they were not invited to a a party. Our children can grow up stronger than that but we must help them.
A little about Mario Depeine, Sr.
As an educator I get the opportunity to get a small glimpse of how our society is shaping up. Children come into the classroom with all types of perspectives. A lot of the perspectives are a result of their environment. Some of those perspectives reflect the home life or lack of. Some reflect the street life and some just reflect the media that the children are exposed to.
Middle School children are just starting out in life. You see how their characters and personalities are shaping up. Many can be molded or adjusted easily others are a lot more resistant to change depending on their circumstance.
I work in an urban district. While there I see many interesting and at times disheartening things. Hopefully my experiences as an educator can shed some light on what we can do to better prepare our children for the future.