By Kevin Sprehe
As a parent, one of the hardest things to endure is to watch your child suffer. Now, there are varying degrees of suffering a child may endure. This will not explore extreme, heart-wrenching suffering.
And, I’m not talking about the other extreme when your child wants another piece of candy and throws a temper-tantrum-kind of suffering (which isn’t really suffering).
I’m focusing on everyday suffering when your child is hurt by a friend or breaks a toy they have just loved to play with for years.
Suffering is often overlooked, and, as parents, we tend to over compensate or under compensate most of the time.
Recently, a series of everyday events happened with my son that made me stop and think about the need for this kind of suffering, especially for kids.
First, my son was playing in a championship flag football game and, unfortunately, his team lost the game. He was so excited he was able to play, but I could sense his disappointment that he didn’t win.
Then, a few days later, we went trunk-or-treating, and he came home with a couple of cheap toys. Of course, the two he thought were the coolest broke within about 30 minutes, and it didn’t help that his dad – me – broke one of those toys. His heart was broken, and tears ensued.
My initial reaction was, “toughen up” they are just toys. However, it struck me that although these couple of events seemed minor, they were moments of suffering for him and an opportunity as a parent to help him through that.
Ultimately, it is my belief that suffering creates humility. Numerous saints within the church talk about humility as a key virtue.
So, while I hate seeing my son suffer in these little ways, I feel confident that these little moments and proper guidance through this suffering could be one of the many catalysts to help him, hopefully one day, be a saint.