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Farm Pond in NebraskaWhile casually chatting with some new friends, one looks up and glances toward the lake where our kids are exploring. He asks about a noise he heard. The other Dad listens. “That’s not a good yell!” He says – and takes off running.

I didn’t hear the commotion, but knowing my kids are about 600 yards away by the farm pond, I too took off running.

Since lunch wouldn’t be ready right away, the kids decided to go explore the farm. I didn’t think too much of it, but later when I heard they were out by the lake, a small voice urged me to go check on them. And yet, I ignored it.

Well, I didn’t actually ignore it, but I did argue with that little voice. As an older father with a long history in EMS, I tend to be a bit cautious. I want my kids to inherit my adventuresome spirit, but I’d like them to survive.

I never feared death until my kids were born. Now, I feel vulnerable to death. It would kill me to lose them, and I’d hate to abandon them through my own death. For someone who embraces adventure and dangerous activities, it’s a weird place to be.

So here I am, running through waist deep grass and weeds about 30 feet behind my friend. We still don’t know what’s going on, but we can hear panicked screams of terror from at least one child. But we can’t see them. I’m praying the whole way and preplanning resuscitation scenarios in my head. I’m also steeling myself, emotionally, to do CPR on one of my kids.

Suddenly the weeds get thick and we can’t run. The vines are wrapping around our ankles and the nettles are stinging our legs. The urgency is still there, but I feel like a turtle running through peanut butter. We’re really in deep weeds now.

I catch a sight of my Smiling Son’s white cowboy hat, and I can see he’s walking around – but he’s near the lake. I call our my Darling Daughter’s name – once, twice, and she finally answers. The screaming calms and the kids appear out of the deep weeds. Just then, I get dive bombed by bees.

As I continue to struggle through the vines and grass, I’m waving my arms trying to fend off the bees. The kids tell us that they were attacked by bees. Ah, now they tell me! 😉

I get through the weeds and away from the offended nest. I have a million grass seeds in my socks and shoes, and few stings from the nettles, but I escaped the angry bees. The kids are fine, except for a few stings, but they are all scared and relieved to see us. I, on the other hand am out of breath and filled with the adrenaline rush of fear, panic, and genuine parental concern.

I take turns holding my kids and soothing their fear.

That’s one of the hard things about being a parent. It doesn’t matter what emotions are in your own heart, your kids’ needs come first. They feared bees, I feared something more tragic and scary. They feared the physical pain of stingers, I feared losing one or both of them. Clearly, my fears trump theirs – but that is irrelevant. I held them. Their fears are real, and deep, and tragic.

At their ages, they could never understand the depth of my love for them. My Smiling Son and I have a little bedtime ritual. He tries to one-up me on how much he loves me more than I love him. I love his confidence and enthusiasm as he tries to show me how much he loves me. It’s a form of worship really. But, without crushing his spirit, I can never let him win this game.

First, he doesn’t understand, really, the depth of love we are really talking about. Second, he can never love me more. And finally, the stakes are high – our kids have to know the depth of our love for them. They have to know that our love is a nearly bottomless pit.

As we walked back to the farm-house, the kids shared their stories of the “hundreds and millions of bees” that attacked them. We two Dads, just held them, listened, and thanked God for the opportunity to still hold our kids.

Today’s guest post is from Angela Prickette, a recent college graduate. She currently works independently as a freelance writer and photographer. She enjoys snow skiing, hiking, and rock climbing.

In the protect your child against depressionpast few decades there has been a significant increase in the amount of teenagers and adults diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Often the development of these disorders can be traced back to childhood. When raising a child, parents should be mindful of the ways they can protect their child from developing depression, anxiety or related illnesses.

One of the biggest benefits parents can provide their children with is the chance to play independently with peers. Unstructured play time not only fosters creativity, but also helps children develop the coping skills needed to face various challenges that they will encounter. Parents who shelter their children by over-controlling their play, though often well-intentioned, are actually doing their children a disservice in the long run

“Social interaction with peers is also a crucial part of developing resiliency and life skills as a child,” according to author Michael Myles. Playing with peers helps children see their is life outside of themselves and learn to care and respond to the needs of others. Establishing this mindset early on can help children learn to adjust to being in groups and it actively fights the anxiety that some people struggle with when being in groups or with new people.

For parents who struggled themselves with any form of depression or anxiety, it is very important to model shared decision making for children. What is shared decision making?

It is simply approaching medical decisions as a team, with communication from patients and care professionals. Using this approach and being intentional about doing so, helps children see that it is okay to seek help, but also important to have input. Children who see their parents using shared decision making for their own health care will understand how to be proactive in getting help while avoiding learned helplessness or taking the standpoint that people are just victims of depression or anxiety.

Another important thing to model for kids that may help prevent depression or anxiety is coping with stress in healthy ways. Seeing parents use techniques like exercise or lists, rather than stress-eating or over indulgence can help kids learn to focus on healthy habits for themselves. Also, when parents are upfront about stressful life situations and able to talk them through (when age-appropriate) it can be a powerful example for children. Children take so many cues from adults, including how to deal with stress, make decisions and show resilience.

no wonder why iPhone users wanted MMS so much.I know a lot of parents who struggle to get a handle on their kids’ use of electronic gadgets. TV, PCs, games, and phones – they are a part of life, yet difficult even for adults to manage sometimes. While visiting friends the other day, I was struck by their boundaries and thought I’d pass on this little gem.

They all charge their phones downstairs and no cellular devices are allowed upstairs. So, when the kids (and adults) go to bed, they don’t take their gadgets with them. This way, all texting stops at night and everyone gets a good night’s sleep. In addition, this prevents other unsafe behaviors from occurring also.

Another friend of mine uses a good router-based Internet filter. They stop all Internet traffic after 10pm. If there is a need, a parent can unlock the filter – but this is only for emergencies, urgencies, or very special occasions.

I’m curious, how does your family manage these tools? In and of themselves, they are not evil – but they are often misused. What special precautions have you put in place – either for yourselves, or your kids?

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