As a parent, I am always looking for teachable moments with my children. A few years ago, when my son was 5, I was trying to teach him what it means to be a gentleman. One day, as my family was walking into a department store, my son ran to the door to open it for his mother and attempted to open it by himself. He struggled to open the door because it was a large, heavy, glass door. He managed to pry it open but struggled for a minute to open it all the way. My wife looked at me and asked me to help him. I said, “The struggle is good for him.”
By feeling the weight of the door and the struggle of opening it, he got a feel for what it’s like to keep pushing when you’re tempted to quit. In the process, he learned how to overcome a struggle. He walked around the rest of the day with his head held high and with a little swagger in his step. In hindsight, I discovered 3 reasons why your child needs to struggle.When your children learn to overcome a struggle today, it gives them confidence to do it again in the future.
1. Struggles prepare them for the future.
As parents, we need to remember that today’s struggles are stairways to our children’s futures. When your children learn to overcome a struggle today, it gives them confidence that they can do it again in the future. As a parent, you intuitively know that things only get harder the older you get. The military understands this principle as well, as they knowingly put every soldier through a boot camp filled with struggles. The outcome is that the soldiers are trained to overcome the struggles they will face on the battlefield. Likewise, the struggles your children face today will help them learn to overcome life’s difficulties tomorrow.
2. Struggles forge their character.
Struggles have a way of refining your children’s character. Your child needs to struggle because it helps him develop patience, perseverance, and grit. It’s good to want to protect our children, but as adults, we understand that it’s the struggles in life that made us who we are today. These characteristics become invaluable as children strive toward future goals in education and in the workplace.
3. Struggles teach them that failure is a part of life.
If we don’t let them struggle and fail now, they won’t know how to respond later when it really counts. History is full of people who have learned that failure is a part of life. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team before he would go on to win six NBA championships and five MVP awards. The author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, was rejected 12 times before her first manuscript was accepted. Walt Disney was fired from his first journalism job because he was told he lacked creativity. The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was fired from his own company. Later he founded a little company called Pixar, which would go on to make some of the greatest blockbuster animation movies, including Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters, Inc.
If it had not been for the struggles, these people would not have been able to accomplish what they have today. It was through learning to overcome the struggles that they grew and developed the skills they needed to become leaders in their respective fields. When your children struggle and fail, they need to know they’re in good company. They can also know that struggles don’t have to be final and can serve as stepping stones for their future.
Sound off: What are some other reasons your child needs to struggle?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are you struggling with right now, and how can I help you?”