I’ll never forget the first time I looked into my oldest’s eyes and saw a hurting heart. She tried to hide the pain, but it spilled and overflowed like a flooding river unable to contain the rush of the spring thaw. I wanted so badly to take the hurt away. Isn’t that what we do, as parents? Bandage the wound, wipe the tears, hug tightly, and send them on their way? But not this time. The wound wasn’t on the outside, it was deep in the heart, and those kinds of wounds can’t be healed with a mere Bandaid.
So what do we do?
Because hurt will come. Life is a level playing field, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t protect our children from experiencing the more painful side of life.
This is, perhaps, when family matters the absolute most. When nothing can be fixed, what we can say is, “We are with you. We believe in you. And we weather this together.”
It is in these moments that they know they are not alone, and that means something in this world. Many, many people will come and go throughout their lives, but family stays.
We take turns carrying each other when there is one wounded. It’s what family does.
They need to be reminded who they are, where they come from, and of their firm foundation. So, parents, remind them. Tell them. Show them. They need you most when their heart hurts. Draw close. Don’t run. Even if it’s hard and they try to push you away. Don’t let them.
Teach them what it means to be a family in hard times.