We see it when a butterfly is working its way out of a chrysalis or a baby chick is pecking its way out of an egg. The struggle appears to be so overwhelming, one is tempted to help the poor creature break free from its enclosure. We know, however, that in the struggle, the butterfly and chick become strong enough to live outside of the safety of its former, confined environment. If there is no struggle, there is no strength, and the risk of not surviving or being handicapped increases considerably.
The fact is God has designed our emotional, physical, and spiritual development to include struggle. If we escape or are consistently rescued from the struggle, we fail to grow and mature. To become emotionally, physically, and spiritually robust, we must face resistance, obstacles, challenges, and even failures.
Whether its homework, teachers, peers, friendships, athletics, or other life issues, our children will inevitably face challenges and disappointments that will feel overwhelming, heartbreaking, and unfair. However, they gain not just confidence, but dignity, when they figure things out on their own and discover God’s grace and strength is sufficient for them to overcome the challenges and tribulations of life.
As parents, some of our greatest joy comes from seeing our children happy and successful. Therefore, it is difficult to watch our children in the midst of a struggle, when they are literally crying with frustration, discomfort, or unhappiness. However, if we constantly rescue them from such struggles, their growth and maturity will be stunted and their future happiness and life satisfaction will be lessened. In fact, trying to ensure one’s child is always happy is probably the best formula for guaranteeing their future unhappiness. Instead of learning to deal with life’s negative and difficult circumstances, they will blame others, including God, for failing to make them happy.
Children want and need to know they are always loved and supported by their parents. So, when you refuse to intervene or rescue them from a difficult situation, be prepared for them to question that love and support. Let them know that you and God will walk through those difficult times with them, and you will be their greatest cheerleader, but you cannot nor should you rescue them from the struggle that belongs to them. We need wisdom and discernment from God and sometimes from other parents to know when to let our children face natural consequences or challenging circumstances without our intervention. We will make mistakes along the way, but that is part of our struggle as parents, and if you listen closely, you will hear God cheering you on.