A few life lessons from the trenches

Social media isn’t all bad, right? Here are a few gems I have come across on my social media feed that I love so much I want to document them. The first, from a popular writer; the other two from friends who are in the trenches and slowly digging their way out.  Life lessons for us all!

On Forging Through Trials 

If we stopped being so afraid of pain, we would find our power.

If we stopped being so afraid of pain, we would become the parents our kids need. It’s not our job — nor our right — to protect our kids from pain. It’s our job to point them directly toward their struggle and say: “See that? That was made for you. Your journey is straight through your story. I see your fear, and it’s big. But I also see your courage – and it’s bigger. You can do hard things.” -Glennon Doyle

On Parenting Teenagers

A few observations in parenting a teen/young adult that have helped me so far (many thanks to our coaches, teachers, and good advice from friends too):

* Love them regardless of their behavior towards you or others (shield with extra prayer when necessary). Forgive quickly. As you love, respect will naturally follow- don’t demand respect.

* Help them feel loved, valued, and worthy of love at a core level whenever you engage with them. Even if it’s in your silent prayers or by thinking “you are loved, valued, and worthy of love” when you think of them or are with them. Touch them whenever possible in a positive way- hug, back rub, kiss on the cheek, etc.

* If they don’t want to talk to you, serve them- clean their room, write them kind notes, make them their favorite food, give them a massage, take them to lunch etc. eventually they will and when they do, listen without judgment.

* Take time to notice what they are doing well and compliment them in front of others and even give thanks during family prayer.

* Establish expectations for family property (house, cars, etc) and how they are to be used and what behaviors are not allowed while using these things. If they don’t follow the rules they lose privilege to have access to the item, etc. until they agree to follow and try again.

* Recognize that if you try to control or force choices you will most always lose and the relationship (and trust) will suffer. Invite and suggest when appropriate, however, if they choose to do something different respect their choice and let them own their decision. “To take away someone’s agency is a moral crime.” The whole point of this life is to learn. Learning comes from experience.

* Invite your teen’s friends over often and meet their parents. Be clear about expectations when needed.

* Support their hobbies and passions 110%

* Every teen needs mentors outside the home to reinforce positive behaviors and encourage. Proactively seek mentors you admire for your teen. Be a mentor to other teens when asked if possible.

* Seek out parenting coaches, counselors, retreats, conferences etc if you need more support and ideas.

* Continue to have a social life of your own and keep dating your spouse.

* Once a child is 18 your main goal is to help them become independent- you may want to help them with career or education, but ultimately it needs to be their decision how that looks like for them. Be clear in what you will contribute or not and any expectations for rewards to be received (such as I’ll cover housing and food if you maintain 3.0 in college…or if you live at home and work, you will pay rent…)

* Enjoy them, learn from them and with them. 

-Kelly Anderson

On Finding Your Everyday Miracles

Do you ever feel like life is so hard, and no matter how hard you work, you can’t quite get “there”. I’ve been feeling this way the past few days, hardcore. It seems like I work my tail off, then some new thing happens, I move down a life level and begin working my tail off even harder.

This morning I was feeling it, and I posted about it a bit earlier. I decided to stop at McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin as a little Friday morning break and to avoid the crush of cars driving to campus for women’s conference.

I pulled into the drive-thru and placed my order. Pulling up to the first window I smiled at the same lady who takes my card when I hit this McDonald’s about twice per month for a breakfast grab. She’s older and has clearly lived a pretty hard life. I don’t think we would agree on much, politics, religion, lifestyle-wise. Without saying “hello” or “your total is” she took my card and looked at me and said, “I repotted my lilac tree.” I paused, because what an odd thing to say. I love gardening, but she doesn’t know that. I love lilacs, but she doesn’t know that. And why is this the conversation opener for buying my breakfast sandwich? So I smiled and said, “Oh?” and she said, “It looked like it was dying, it wasn’t happy. But this morning I woke up and the blooms were opening.”

It basically hit me between the eyes that this was the answer to my heartfelt prayer this morning. I may be experiencing a “re-planting” in my life, and right now things may look droopy and like they will never bloom again, but the blooming will come.

I had to hold back a tear or two, and told her “Thank you for sharing that with me.” She shrugged and turned to go back to the register so I drove forward. By the time I was at the second window I was a teary mess. The lady in that window didn’t share any words of wisdom, just handed me my bag with a puzzled look on her face.

Heavenly Father loves us. He answers our prayers and he re-pots us so we will bloom. And sometimes the moments that he reaches us are so odd and unexpected and I’m so grateful to this woman, one of his daughters who is also pushing through her struggles in life, for sharing her story about the almost dead lilac tree. I’m not sure she will ever comprehend that she was a conduit for the spirit to communicate with me in that moment. May she be equally blessed in her life. May all her re-potted lilacs bloom. And I wish that for all of you. -Lisa

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