Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is There Value in Struggle?

My husband and I got into an interesting conversation the other night.
The topic: struggle.
The questions/concerns: Does struggling make you a better person in the short and/or long run? If you struggle as a kid, what does it teach you? Should you allow your kids to struggle even if you have the means to give them everything they need and/or want? Do you really struggle or is it an "in the moment" feeling?

Everyone has struggled at some point in their lives. Some more than others. There are so many different situations and I'm sure people can name off multiple situations in life where they have had difficulty. I know I have, but the conversation my husband and I had put some perspective into the idea of struggle.

Finances are usually the main "struggle" people experience, in my opinion. It seems to be the root of a lot of issues. The hubster and I  were discussing high school in particular and how we struggled. He mentioned not having enough money for the "good lunch line" which had the pizza hut personal pans. I mentioned not having enough money to do a Senior page in the back of the yearbook. Both things apparently we HUGE deals in high school. Looking back, would we have changed these things? Probably not. I don't ever look in my yearbook and Jason doesn't eat pizza everyday now that he can afford it. Was it a struggle then? Yes. Did it make us better people in the long run? Who's to say.

Those were just silly examples, but in truth, we both think a little struggle does make you a better person. It makes you more independent, more aware of finances and surroundings, and more appreciative of things you do have in life. Obviously, this is a very general statement and is very case-by-case, depending on the person. It also depends on your definition of struggle.

The topic was brought up to open the communication lines about how to teach our son that struggling once in awhile is okay and not the end of the world. How do we do this? And how do we do this knowing we would be able to provide what he wanted? As soon to be parents, we want to teach our son the value of earning something, gaining independence, and hard work.

No, we are not going to make him starve. But not getting in the Pizza Hut line at school, getting a brand new car, or a toy every time we go into Target may be on the list.

Realization: Parenting is tough work; we don't have the answers to these questions. We can only hope we teach him the values we believe in. Teaching him will be a struggle in itself, especially toddler and teenage years. But...those are only a couple years of his life, so when he is an adult (and out of our house) he will be able to make better choices.

This was a tough topic is discuss with my husband because I really don't know what parenting will be like. You never know and life can change at any moment. He would ask me a question and my response would be, "I don't know" to most of them. It did get me thinking and us talking about what's to come. Communication, in my opinion, is one of our strongest areas in our marriage, so I know we will be fine.

Do you feel your struggles in life have made you a better person?

Any opinions, questions, concerns, and/or perspectives are definitely wanted, as this is such a unique discussion we had and would love to hear what others think!

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