Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

beansprouts

Healthy adversity and developing strong character

Recommended Posts

This is a spin-off from pqr's comments in the swim coach thread.

 

One of my worries for my children is that in our comfy middle-class American home they just might have it too good. In my own life things were not as easy, and while I wouldn't wish my childhood on anybody, I do feel I have a perspective on things that I wouldn't have without these experiences. I think we can all point to our trials as having grown us in some way.

 

I believe that some adversity is necessary for growing strong men and women. Our kids need to experience want, they need to understand that it is okay to be uncomfortable, they need to learn perserverance when times are tough, and they need to learn to work effectively with difficult personalities.

 

So what are some healthy ways to accomplish this? I am definitely in favor of "man chores" as Sunshine suggested in a different thread. Dh and I have also discussed taking our camping to a more primitive level. What are others doing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fret about this as well.

 

A friend of mine suggested real service to the disadvantaged. She feels that exposing her children to the poor and to genuinely destitute life circumstances gives them a better perspective on the comforts they have in their own life. This friend saw how a missions trip to India changed her oldest dd's outlook.

 

As a result my own dh and I are seriously considering a family missions trip to Guatemala.

 

We live in a difficult urban setting. I have struggled mightily with this choice over the past several years, though I have wondered if God might use the difficulties we experience in this neighborhood to shape my children's character for the better. We are not sure of this, but are at the least thinking and praying over how best to show our children the pain and poverty and suffering in the world without endangering our children or showing exposing them more than is good for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that some adversity is necessary for growing strong men and women. Our kids need to experience want, they need to understand that it is okay to be uncomfortable, they need to learn perserverance when times are tough, and they need to learn to work effectively with difficult personalities.

 

So what are some healthy ways to accomplish this? I am definitely in favor of "man chores" as Sunshine suggested in a different thread. Dh and I have also discussed taking our camping to a more primitive level. What are others doing?

 

For girls, I think it's important to resist the urge to rescue them. I want my dds to solve their own problems, like adults are expected to. (Obviously, I'll help with advise and emotional support- or physical support while the kids are young.)

 

I want my dds to grow up with a problem-solving attitude instead of a woe-is-me attitude. To accomplish this, we take on the "man chores" around our house, figuring out how to fix things by getting books at the library and searching the 'net. We travel a lot (there are always glitches to work out on a trip.)

 

Both my dds have been involved in highly competitive sports to the extent that they work hard for long periods of time. I think it's healthy to experience muscle failure, and learn exactly how far you can push yourself. (It's a lot farther than you think.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Both my dds have been involved in highly competitive sports to the extent that they work hard for long periods of time. I think it's healthy to experience muscle failure, and learn exactly how far you can push yourself. (It's a lot farther than you think.)

 

This reminds me that as a grown woman, giving birth naturally was one (three?) of these growth experiences. I remember after it was over feeling like I could do pretty much anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I fret about this as well.

 

A friend of mine suggested real service to the disadvantaged. She feels that exposing her children to the poor and to genuinely destitute life circumstances gives them a better perspective on the comforts they have in their own life. This friend saw how a missions trip to India changed her oldest dd's outlook.

 

As a result my own dh and I are seriously considering a family missions trip to Guatemala.

 

We live in a difficult urban setting. I have struggled mightily with this choice over the past several years, though I have wondered if God might use the difficulties we experience in this neighborhood to shape my children's character for the better. We are not sure of this, but are at the least thinking and praying over how best to show our children the pain and poverty and suffering in the world without endangering our children or showing exposing them more than is good for them.

 

 

I agree, My kids have helped me do volunteer work here in the city for the poor, but we are also planning the family mission trip to Guatemala to boost that exposure. We are in a different position in that we are pretty poor and have our own fair share of struggles that the children see, but I still think they lead a very spoiled/priveledged life and I want them to get an eye opener to build their character up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In order to handle adversity (or prosperity btw) you need to have capacity. You have capacity by learning certain principles. On a secular level (which Christians can benefit from too) you do this by volunteering, setting some physical challenges, having jobs that stretch both boys and girls etc. For a Christian, I think that you need to learn to think the way that God thinks. The way a Christian handles adversity is not just to gut it through. A Christian has a unique relationship of trust and reliance on God - specifically God the Holy Spirit. For my children who have come to faith in Jesus Christ, I want them to do things through the power of the Holy Spirit and not through their own power. When we volunteer I spend time with the children talking about the proper motivation for our volunteer activities. I talk about making sure that there is no un-named sin so that they can be in fellowship. I talk about how they will be able to handle adversity from other people properly when the Holy Spirit is prompting them. Sometimes the way to handle that is to stick up for yourself - politely but firmly. Sometimes it is to walk away. Sometimes it is to call 9-1-1. Sometimes it is to deflect another's anger etc. with a laugh or a shrug. I deal with some pretty "borderline" people on a regular basis in our Assisted Living home ministry. My kids are always with me so they are exposed too. But not only do I have to rely on God the Holy Spirit myself, to help prompt my interactions with these people but as a parent, I have to rely on God the Holy Spirit to know when and how to protect my kids from what they don't have capacity for and how to encourage them to grow in their capacity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knowing our children's individual strengths will allow us to determine a good way to help them learn and overcome adversity. I wouldn't have my child walk 10 miles in snow (where the poor child died), but will encourage them to compete in sports--as it's their forte--and "suck it up" through the downtimes. This includes working out when they're tired or uncomfortable, being chewed out by the coach for not exhibiting professional behavior (at 9y/o), or daily training circuit at home when nobody else is watching. They're required to give up something (playtime, TV, being coddled by mom) to strive for perfection.

Service to others is important. So much of our kids' generation is given everything and will have little understanding of sacrifice to achieve their respective dreams. Sacrifice--from fasting, to working in a food kitchen, etc. Give back to those less fortunate.

Our children don't see the world through the same eyes that we do. Theirs tends to be a lot more rose-colored. Much of this is dependent upon their natural personality. The rest of the job is for us to mold them to be stronger, and able to grow into dependable, respectable adults. Be it service to others, group work is essential. We happen to use sports b/c of their interest in it. Other options are toast masters/debate, music, church groups, etc.

 

Did I even come close to answering your question? LOL Think it must be adult ADD kicking in...:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We happen to use sports b/c of their interest in it. Other options are toast masters/debate, music, church groups, etc.

 

Did I even come close to answering your question? LOL Think it must be adult ADD kicking in...:lol:

 

That helps.

 

My dd is a pianist who has talent, but lacks discipline. I think this could be a good place to begin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son is also in cadets, my dd will be joining next year. I chose it for ds because he has an end goal of joining the army, but I also think having the strong men leading it, the hard work he has toput in will be good in raising him up to be a strong man since he does not have a man at home to teach him this. Self-discipline is definitely something that they buikld through the cadet corps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think we need to go looking for adversity, it comes to find us! I think strong character is developed by working through whatever challenges come your way, and they do. I was pretty shocked and kind of depressed at the playground the other day where kids 6 inches taller than my daughter weren't allowed to go down the slide by themselves. My daughter, being allowed to do such things (no use worrying once they've already done it, eh?) strode around with confidence, those other little kids wandered around aimlessly. I think it's all about using the skills you have, though as kids get older they need a wider world to practise them in, to extend their comfort zone.

My current thoughts...

Rosie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think we need to go looking for adversity, it comes to find us! I think strong character is developed by working through whatever challenges come your way, and they do. I was pretty shocked and kind of depressed at the playground the other day where kids 6 inches taller than my daughter weren't allowed to go down the slide by themselves. My daughter, being allowed to do such things (no use worrying once they've already done it, eh?) strode around with confidence, those other little kids wandered around aimlessly. I think it's all about using the skills you have, though as kids get older they need a wider world to practise them in, to extend their comfort zone.

My current thoughts...

Rosie

 

I have always parented this way. I teach my babies to climb the stairs as soon as they can crawl. Once they can walk well it is time for the playground. My two year old can go down the slide, my 4 year old rode a two wheeler at 3, climbs trees and can manage the monkey bars independantly. My 9 year old has participated in figure skating and trampoline, two sports that carry some risk of injury. Sometimes they do fall, but I would rather see them grow in competance and confidence and risk a few scrapes and bruises.

 

Here at home, they learn to get things for themselves as early as possible. Both the older children can pour drinks and get snacks, my 9 year old has even done some simple cooking. It is easier for me not to have to wait on them all day long. I am always surprised when other children come to my home and seem to need everything done for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that we don't need to go looking for adversity:). I do believe that hard work builds character, be that academic work or physical work. Our kids work hard where we live because of some of our lifestyle choices. We heat with wood so we spend plenty of time cutting, hauling, stoking the fire, sorting wood and bringing it downstairs to the furnace. All of our kids play an integral part of keeping our home running smoothly. They do laundry, dishes, make beds, take out trash, etc.

I also think travel is very eye-opening, be that service oriented, educational or vacation oriented. Short term mission trips are good but limited in scope. Sponsering a child or missionaries that the kids can know, write to or visit can be challenging.

Primitive camping and backpacking can be life changing (I took a 1 mth backpacking trip to the high Unitas my fresh yr of college- life forming!)

Sports and music, if disciplined.

We also really stress loving kindness in our home. My 8 ds commented last night about how sad it made him that none of thier friends- p.s. or homeschooled liked their siblings. 2 friends actually told him that they hated their bros or sisters. He said he couldn't believe how mean families were to each other. We do not allow mean spiritedness in our home. We require family members to work out differences and grievances and we stress justice over fairness.

We stress living a Hebraic life-style. We study the Bible and apply it. Giving generously all the time, not just when we feel blessed - we ARE blessed- all the time, and we always have something that we can give, share or bless others with. We are constantly reading, praying, growing and discussing amongst ourselves. Our goal is to develop a beautiful family culture and through that, out of that, our kids character will flow, complete with strength.

We pray as a family for character development of individuals and for the calling on individuals and as a group.

Finally, as a Momma with older kids, I let my kids go when it's time. My oldest has been abroad several times and lives 17hrs away at college, will be gone this summer. We really like each other. Our family misses her. But, she is so FULL of this vision and it's exciting and ordained so we are letting her go. sniff. So, for kids who are ready to try new things, be discerning, and for those who are more cautious, give a little push-kwim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I believe that some adversity is necessary for growing strong men and women. Our kids need to experience want, they need to understand that it is okay to be uncomfortable, they need to learn perserverance when times are tough, and they need to learn to work effectively with difficult personalities.

 

So what are some healthy ways to accomplish this? I am definitely in favor of "man chores" as Sunshine suggested in a different thread. Dh and I have also discussed taking our camping to a more primitive level. What are others doing?

 

Great thread!!! The things that others have posted are great. Seems to me that a good way to summarize an effective way to do this is to intentionally and methodically get them out of their comfort zones. I agree very much with what some have said about using everyday life to teach them, highly valuable (!), but it's quite likely that in an American lifestyle that kids might never really come face to face with issues like poverty, injustice, etc, and that looking for service opportunities and exposure to the plight of others up close and personal for our dc is very important.

 

My dc have spent most of their lives in the 3rd world, but that was their comfort zone. It wasn't until we'd been back in the States for a couple of years and my daughters went last summer on a missions trip back to where we used to live that the fact that our neighbors were poor sunk in! And it has changed them. They'd grown much more materialistic while we've been in the States and that has been reigned in considerably as well as lots of other excellent results in them from that trip.

 

I also think that it's important to do this sort of thing our whole lives! It's too easy to grow comfortable and we need to be reminded that many of our issues are trival in the big picture to keep our character sharp and to keep us looking beyond our comfort zones to serve. I have a good friend who had a abusive childhood and went through years of therapy over it. She said a major turning point for her was being a group situation where someone who'd had it even worse than her was sharing. She realized that there's always something worse so it's changed the way she lives her own life day to day into gratutide and joy!

 

I've just used a mission trip as an example, but I'm sure there are lots of other good ways to accomplish this if we look!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...