How do we keep going? Let’s check in.
As we look into a new year, 2022, as parents I want to ask the question, "how are you doing?"
Frankly, I am tired. The stress of the pandemic is still hovering around, yet at the same time we have developed a new family rhythm that involves school, work, friends, family, and more.
I tell this story in my book, Parenting with Perspective, but it is one of the best ways for me to gain perspective:
As a family we went on a half day white rafting trip. We had an excellent guide. He gave us instructions, then let us practice on some smaller rapids. But then the guide did something that has stuck with me. After every rapid that we crossed, he had us turn around and look at what we had come through. “That was a class 2, next is a class 3, get ready,” he would say. Each time while we were in calm waters, he would have us turn around and see the rapids that we accomplished together. This has changed me, how I look upon my life, and how I do life with others. It has affirmed the connection that we have with creation and with each other.
Some of us live in a class 4 rapid. We are working hard to move and get through, and we can’t see much else. Some of us live in class 3. It takes work and focus, but we can do this. Some of us live in class 2. It has some bumps and some waves, but it is smooth all and all. We need to notice the calm and use this time to rest. But no matter what kind of life we are living, we all need people in the boat with us. We all need instructors guiding us. And we need to look at the past and be able also to see the present and the future. This is done best when you are in a community, especially a community of faith.
As we move into a new year it is important to know where we have been, know where we have been going, know where we want to go. It is also important to recognize that there will be rapids among all of it. I just had a phone call with some friends, who are in the middle of potty training, and I am in the middle of teaching a teen to drive. We joked not knowing which teaching is more difficult. I believe the real answer is they are both challenging. The thing we need to do as parents is name the difficulty, give time to pause (rest) and keep working together with our children. We can do this, you can do this.