It was a spring weekend and my son had been selected to be on an all-star baseball team. Now, don’t get too impressed. It was a second-string type of All-Star team, but that’s a story for another day. We packed up the car and headed to a park about thirty minutes away from our home along with fifteen other teams and their families. It was a beautiful, sunny day – until it wasn’t. A few hours into the tournament, a storm showed up seemingly out of nowhere. It was one of those rain events where you had to take the cover quickly and simply wait it out until it was gone. It rained really hard for quite a while. When the rain slowed down, we thought it was over. As we emerged from our tents and headed back towards the fields, another dark cloud decided to dump its contents on us for another fifteen or twenty minutes. We had to be patient and simply weather the storm.
Isn’t parenting often like this? We can be going through another seemingly sunny day with our family, and all of a sudden a storm can come up out of nowhere. A child (or maybe a parent) can quickly become enraged over almost nothing. These storms can have their own version of waterworks in tears, loud booming thunder through yelling, and strong winds through hurtful words. After all is said and done, the damage can be great. Sometimes these storms can even blow out pretty quickly, leaving apparent sunshine for the rest of the day.
Just recently I’ve noticed that our kids are in a season of life where a storm can emerge in a moment. They don’t quite know how to navigate their emotions when they don’t get what they want. The rain can come, the wind can blow, and everyone needs to take cover. The question for us as parents is this: How do we weather these storms? Do we meet thunder with thunder? Do we grab an umbrella and try to stay out in the rain for as long as we can? Do we completely take cover and run and hide? I’m growing to learn that how we operate in these storms is really important. The way we respond to the storms in our home can set a pattern for generations to come. As the adults in the room, we have to learn to control our own emotions and literally stay calm in the midst of the storm. Part of our job is to make sure everyone emerges from the storm without any major injuries. Sometimes that might mean that we are the ones to take the brunt of the wind, rain, and thunder. Do we need to try to calm the storm in our kids and teach them there is another way to respond? Absolutely. But we also need to recognize when they are growing and learning and really don’t know how to stop the storm from coming. In reality, learning how to navigate the storms that well up within us as well as the ones that come our way is a part of our journey of faith.
One of the best ways to whether a storm is to be prepared. Know that these emotional storms are coming in your family. Be prepared to control your own emotions, help others navigate theirs in a healthy way, and do what you can to keep everybody as safe as possible. There’re definitely times when we are all going to get a little wet, but let’s do what we can to make sure that the foundation of our home stays intact.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:2-5