I said at the outset of this trip that i thought this was the first year our girls could really get something out of this trip. That’s proven to be true, in more ways than one. On the positive side, I do think that the girls have really enjoyed this trip, and have made connections with the family, God, and the natural world that will last. that’s great.
But it’s also true that this is the first year this would have worked. In other words, there has been resistance to what we are doing, and I think it stretches our girls’ capacities to do this type of travel and physical exertion.
cyn and I reading, during this trip, two books that really help deal with this: Parenting from the Inside Out and The Whole Brain Child (both are by Daniel Siegel at UCLA). Among other things, what it says is that it’s good for children to run up against resistance because it pushes their boundaries of what they think is possible. Loving adults should contextualize such experiences, as positive, growing experiences. They should be told within the context of a story, which is the best way our brains make sense of experiences. A story can acknowledge difficult things, but describe them as growing experiences that tested strength and capacity of the individual.
Of course, none of this is new to anyone who reads the Bible regularly. Some of the more popular verses that deal with the virtue of struggle read like this:
Romans 5:3–5; Not only that, but we frejoice in our sufferings, knowing that sufferinggproduces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produceshope, 5 and hhope does not put us to shame, because God’s love ihas been poured intoour hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
James 1:2–4, Testing of Your Faith: eCount it all joy, my brothers,1 when you meet trials fof various kinds, 3 for youknow that gthe testing of your faith hproduces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastnesshave its full effect, that you may be iperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If told right, all the experiences of difficulty, discipline, stress and struggle can become ways for your child to grow in inner capacity to handle difficult situaitons.
And that makes us want to do have more experiences with our kids where they encounter resistance. Rather, we want to regularly plan to have more of these “resistance-building” activities.