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Learning to Love the Hard Times- A Lesson From my Children

Hard times. Are they fun? Do we like them? No! Never! We normally don’t even want to talk about them! They make us cringe and tuck our tails and run! Fast! In the opposite direction! We go out of our way to avoid any kind of suffering. It’s our instinct. But it’s not always maturity.

I’m a slow learner….

Slowly, I’m beginning to realize that the hard times are when we grow. Those tests; those rough, scary moments. Yes, those are the exact times that we are adding wisdom and taking a growth spurt! I’m learning that hard is good. I’m starting to analyze the situation, instead of plunging into despair whenever hard times crash in. What is this suppose to teach me? And how can it make me stronger? Thinking that way changes your entire perspective as you push through hard times. In essence, it makes it a tad easier to cope and make mature decisions when we realize this is building us. 

The Hard Challenge…

An incident happened in my home recently that made a perfectly clear picture of how real this learning to love the hard is!

It was at the dinner table one Wednesday evening, Mr. Son casually mentioned that the teacher had offered a challenge that morning, about reading a certain book before President’s Day. “I didn’t even raise my hand to accept it”, he said. “Why not?” I asked. “Because I could never, ever read that much!” he looked at me with shock at my not understanding.

The Hard Background…

I knew what he was referring to. Him and reading have been in an all out war since about second grade. They were arch-enemies to say the least! Until this school term. Things were changing. That day I walked in and saw him reading on the couch, I knew the war was coming to an end!

So on that Wednesday evening I just looked back at him and announced, “I think you should do it.” My popularity dropped like lead and I began some fast talking! He was finally persuaded to at least try and his sister even jumped on board too. Her prayers the next few nights were “if I don’t win, help me to be ok with that.” The doubt was hanging heavy in our house. 

The Hard Progress…

I made a chart for them to track their progress and they kind of forgot about the school challenge and issued a ‘reading competition’ between themselves! I’m embarrassed to say that I was worried. I knew it was a huge thing for them to do. 89 chapters in about 10 days!!! But I also knew that if they could do this, they would understand what I had been saying over and over, “sometimes hard is good”. It would help them realize that hard things CAN be done if they put their mind to it.

The Hard Sacrifice…

I watched them as they used their extra time at school to read. They ate and dressed faster each morning and gave up story time to read each morning before school. They read on the bus and they stopped their afternoon play to read one chapter before going on with their fun. Their bedtime journaling time was spend reading more chapters.By the third day, they were gaining confidence and realizing that they most likely would finish on time! And all my worries were gone too as I proudly watched them conquer!

The Amazing Triumph…

Then one morning it happened! I was giving them extra time before we went to the window to watch for the bus. As I waited, I counted up the days so far…. 6 days; with 2 of them traveling and 1 full day away. I finally had to call them to come. And they were both slow at answering. But I waited.

Suddenly there was this terribly loud stampede as both rushed towards me at the same time! Hollering and waving their books! A fight broke out, as they both insisted that “they won!” And I just sat there in surprise and let them fight and celebrate! I knew Miss Daughter only had a few chapters left but Mr. Son was lagging behind. I soon found out that he had gotten up early in the morning to catch up. And coincidentally, they both finished at the same time!!!
The looks on their faces as they finished filling in their charts were priceless! For me and them both! They were shocked and I was proud! They ripped up the chart in small pieces, threw it up into the air and let the confetti fall over their dancing selves!

The Winning Moment…

Then came the crowning moment, my son looked at me and screamed with all his might,“I’m a winner!”. I just wanted to cry right there. He’s been working on self confidence. Practicing that phrase over and over. And right then, at that very moment, he realized what it meant to say those words and truly believe that he was actually a winner!!

The Hard Truth…

After they left for school, I sat still, re-visualizing those 6 days. The beginning overwhelming thoughts that they had voiced. The decision to try even when they were convinced they would fail. And the shining eyes when it dawned on them that they would actually finish on time. And then that shock, thrill and celebration when they realized that they not only accomplished that overwhelming assignment, but had finished ahead of schedule!

Loving the Hard…

I’ll never physically love and enjoy the hard times, but I’ll never forget this lesson, taught to me by a 9 and 7 year old! That I need to embrace and love my hard times. By changing my perspective during my hard moments, I can see what is actually happening. That this is where victories are won and strength is built.  I want these hard times because one hard at a time is making me into the great person I desire to be! 

Lynette Conley

Lynette is a Southern belle transplanted to central Pennsylvania. She lives with her little gentleman who is an avid Lego-lover and her little princess who loves to read and draw. She loves designing and has put that passion to work by creating her own children’s clothing line. After finding the courage to leave a failing marriage she realized that there were so many other women who needed to find their own courage. As she shared her heart and the new things she was learning about bravery, she felt drawn to reach a helping hand to those coming behind her. That launched an opportunity to touch many more lives through writing and mentoring. She's excited to grow and learn in this We Community and hopes that her writing will encourage all who read!

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