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The Boy Teacher and the Man Student 21 (In The Face of Hardship)
Just a Straight Up the Mt. Hardship to Overcome
You Cannot Always Protect But You Can Walk and Talk With Them
There are books for children that I have seen that deal with the child when they face hardships. It requires some “intro and outro spection”. (yes those are my terms) At first blush we just take our normal totally vague view of hardship and the notion of facing up to something. In other words there is a challenge with possible or real negative consequences that we must look in the eye and deal with the best we can. But hardship can be an inside job. And more importantly as we age we deal with hardships and we are still here, so our confidence level grows and we can see beyond the horizon. But think of a 4 foot child trying to see beyond a 5 foot wall.
These are some close encounters with something that must be dealt with and overcome.
At four years old.
B: Is it going to hurt dad?
D: I would like to tell you that it will not hurt much but I want you to trust me so I will tell you that it will hurt a lot.
B: Can you do it for me dad?
D: I wish I could son but it is you they must operate on. Your thumb is a trigger finger and we have to fix it now before you grow more.
B: It does not bother me so can’t we just leave it alone like what you say when I have a mosquito bite?
D: No we can’t.
B: Can’t we just ask Jesus to heal it?
D: We ask Jesus to help you and the doctors make it well. We ask for strength and guidance and that his will be done.
B: How come God’s will doesn’t just make it so it won’t hurt?
D: You my little buddy will be surprised at how well you handle the pain with faith.
B: I am scared.
D: Me too.
B: I am never scared at home, except the dark.
D: Hey did you know you cannot be brave without being scared? Really. Bravery is beating fear.
B: I don’t want to be brave. I just want to go home, with mommy.
D: But mommy and grandma Tam are right over there.
B: Will you come in and help the doctors.
D: No I will not help them but I made a deal and I get to go in and be with you and watch. Most dads don’t get to do that. But I said I would write up a good letter on how great they are so they let me in.
B: Will kids laugh at me in school with at big cast on my hand? I don’t like being laughed at. It makes me more shy.
D: Oh for sure they will laugh. Little kids are like that. But you can either get upset and more shy or laugh with them and show them a good way to act. Remember sometimes crying is our choice.
B: Good night daddy, it is time for bed.
D: Good night little buddy I will be here when you wake up.
I Like It And It Fits For Any Father
Learning To Stop and Listen
That one went well with minimum pain and children acting right at pre-kindergarten. The boy healed like nobody’s business and the surgery corrected to this day the problem with the thumb. A growing experience for the boy but a chunk out of my heart that still bleeds in reflection. That damned reminder that we cannot protect them from every pain.
But I am grateful that I was reminded and taught again that fear and pain are OK. And not really the boogey man they are made out to be.
My elder son had a tumor in his thigh bone. Although benign it had to be removed. Successful surgery but 6 months in a lower body cast. This was pre-surgery on a 450 mile father and son road trip back home for surgery.
B: Dad I don’t want you to worry about the operation. I am sure the doctors will do a good job. Mom says they are the best in the nation and maybe the world.
D: But it is my job to worry. And yes Children’s Hospital is one of the best in the world.
B: You told me that worrying is a waste of time. And don’t give me that “do as I say, not as I do” line.
D: Well aren’t you worried?
B: No, because you told me not to.
D: Your biggest challenge will be being in that cast. And like worrying being mad about it will not help. Rather you should be happy that you are alive and getting well. And, and and and.
B: Easy for you to say. You will not be in it. And you will be gone most of the time.
D: That stinks. I wish I could do it for you. But here is the deal. If you act all angry and take it out on those who you are around they will grow to not like you anymore. If you stay all happy they will grow to love and respect you more.
B: I will try. Mom said that I can bring joy to others by letting them help me. I did not get it at first but now I do. Because I checked it out and I am happy when I help others. Even better than giving them a present.
D: Cool, that is a lesson that most people do not get until they are older.
Another Author's Word; Crossfriends
What Goes Around Comes Around
The surgery and life thereafter went well. He did as we discussed and made me understand that at a young age he was a better man than I. To this day more than 20 years later friends still call him “cookie”. His mom determined that she would send cookies with him to school to hand out a couple days a week from his wheel chair. Smart gal his mom is.
Cancer struck our family once again.
B: Dad you know that you will be OK, right?
D: It is all scary but I have faith that it will be OK.
B: I hope you have a fun ride in the ambulance. Mom says we can see you at the hospital.
D: This is just a first round of chemo and not that unusual.
B: Well remember what you told me – don’t get angry.
D: I will try. You are kind of hurting my hand. You can let go now.
B: Is that a double entendre? I don’t think you meant it. And no I will not “let go”.
Obviously all went well in the end as I am writing this. Do not ask me how a 6th grader knew the words double entendre. But with the comment about being angry he reminded me that words we use can have a lasting effect on a life that can be passed on as needed. Or maybe just recycled. And perhaps more importantly it taught me that no matter how we do it love is a two way street. Maybe we do not see it at first or ever. But love for sure has a lasting effect.