Life: Learning Intensified through Futile Experiences


Life: Learning Intensified through Futile Experiences. Life lessons are inescapable. There are things in life that we all must learn. Fortunately, we have the privilege of choosing our teacher.

As parents, one of our biggest frustrations is having children that reject the experiential knowledge and wisdom that we have. It hurts when our children make the choice to learn life’s lessons on their own terms.

One mistake that parents make is thinking that we can somehow shield our children from some of life’s harsh lessons if they would simply listen to us and maneuver through their situation solely based on the instruction we give them.

We all Travel Down the Same Roads in Life

When it comes to our physical development, puberty is something that we all must experience. Puberty is unavoidable. Those of us that have gone through it can prepare our children for it. We can do our best to help them through it. We can offer advice on it. But we cannot shield them from it. We can’t travel that road for them. We can’t guide them down a different path to avoid it. Puberty is an unavoidable road that we all must travel down in life.

We must begin to trust that the same God who delivered us when we were rebellious and determined to experience life on our own terms with the decision making processes of our children.

Having talked to many parents and read many books on parenting, I’ve seen a pattern emerge and have come to see life and the things that parents and young adults experience in a different light in recent months.

What if God has intentionally designed certain life experiences as mandatory? What if our kids instinctively know that they must go down wrong roads in life in order to develop character, wisdom, and experiential knowledge that can only be attained by making unwise decisions in life?

What if instinctively our children know that listening and taking the advice of a parent will permanently stunt their emotional growth and deprive themselves of the character building tools they need to share with their own kids and others later on in life?

Think back on your own life. No doubt you were warned, advised, admonished, and commanded by your parents and other adults to do and not to do certain things. Did you always listen and obey? Did you learn valuable L.I.F.E. (Learning – Intensified through – Futile – Experiences) lessons through your rebellion? Did your life lessons make you a better person or bitter person?

It has been said that when a caterpillar weaves a cocoon and begins the transformation into a butterfly, the struggle to emerge into its new world must take place. If this process is interrupted and the butterfly is freed from its space without a struggle, it will die.

Suppose the mandatory struggle of the butterfly to begin its new life is akin to the struggle that our young people must endure in order to become fully developed, productive adults.

If this is the case, then we as parents must re-focus our goals. We must allow God to be God in their lives as well as ours where the care and concern for our children is concerned. The old saying “Let go and let God” has never been more appropriate than with the care and concern over our children.

Trusting God in the Lives of our Children

We must begin to trust that the same God who delivered us when we were rebellious and determined to experience life on our own terms with the decision making processes of our children.

If you’re a parent and you’re tempted to be frustrated with a child that seems bent on doing things in a way that doesn’t seem right to you, I’d like to gently remind you of some of the bonehead thoughts and decisions we made in our younger years.

Think about all the times you didn’t seek, nor listen to wise counsel. Think about all of the misguided concepts that you would have sworn were true way back in the day, that now you see were completely asinine.

Remember the people in your life who accepted you back when you returned in humility with your tail between your legs after making dumb decisions. Think back to all your mistakes and to all the things you wish you could do over, but will never have an opportunity to correct.

You are the best you there will ever be

The person you look at in the mirror today is a product of all of your past experiences. And though you may not believe it, if you could go back and play the “do over” card in your life, that new person wouldn’t be half the person that you are today as a result of all of your life experiences.

I’d like to encourage you to prayerfully stand by and support those in your life who seem to be going down the wrong path. Notice, I didn’t say agree with them. I said support them. I understand that supporting someone who is going in a direction that you don’t agree with can be difficult.

Try to keep the end result in mind. See the end result as God molds and shapes your loved one into a person of experience and character. Don’t allow yourself to forget that you too were once on that same path and your path yielded experiences far too rich to be forsaken.

Allow those in your life to grow and develop in their own unique ways. There comes a day when the training wheels of life must come off. There will also come a day when your child will fall. Understand that falling in life is mandatory.

Our job as parents isn’t to prevent the falls in life. Our job is to pick up, dust off, bandage the wounds and help them to get back on the bicycle of life.

During the character building process there may be many falls. Character building is a life-long process. I still fall off my L.I.F.E. bike from time to time. The only difference is that now I’m old enough to climb back on my bike by myself without the aid of a parent.

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  1. Thanks for a very encouraging message.

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