I just finished reading David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
There are so many examples of how the underdog comes out on top. Part of the reason for success in many of these cases is because the person has to struggle with something as a child.
It’s not a silver bullet – since some struggles break a child while other children seem to overcome them and thrive. But there does seem to be a tendency in our culture to do everything possible to keep a kid from struggling.
One poignant example was relating to financial struggles.
They often say, “wealth skips a generation.”
The reason for this is because if parent grows up in or near poverty and escapes to become financially secure, they do everything in their power to keep their kids from that terrible struggle they experienced growing up. But because the child grows up with more than enough, she never learns the value of hard work and financial disciplines that come with frugal living. She may wind up having financial struggles as adults and the cycle continues.
It’s hard to raise kids to think of hard work and financial accountability when you have and give them everything! And many middle-class families don’t want to tell their kids “no”.
In fact, when you don’t have enough to make ends meet, the parent is forced to say, “I know you want this, but we just can’t.” It’s as simple as that. No matter how much the child wants it or how much the parent may want to get it for them, there’s just no way. The child learns quickly the value of an item, what it takes to get something, and consequently, what is truly important in life.
But when a family has money – even just average families with average incomes – they aren’t able to use the excuse, “We can’t.” They have to move to the answer of “We won’t.” That is almost too difficult for parents to swallow.
It’s hard on pride to say “we won’t” get this (or do this) for our child.
If you say you want your child to know the value of money and get a passion for working hard, you have to help them by giving them the gift of struggling. They may not always get the new thing, sign up for the most expensive team, or have everything they want.
And financials are just one example. It applies to other struggles of experiencing real-life consequences.
There are other times when it’s out of your control – they get cut from the team or don’t get invited somewhere. Love and listen to them during these times, but know, as tough as it is, struggles are part of growing strong.
Bigger struggles are even tougher on parents – such as learning disabilities. No parent wishes a tough road on their children, but what if the tough road is what makes them who they are as the grow? It’s hard to imagine, but what if the success of your child, as they become an adult, is because they had to learn to deal with the struggle they are going through.
The book, David and Goliath, was both encouraging and eye-opening to the possibilities.
These words from scripture may seem difficult, but they can apply here.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4