Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Nobody Even Cares!"

Our first full week back in the US for a two-month furlough, we were offered the opportunity to stay in a family member's lakeside cabin for a few days.  We piled in as many folks as possible and did our best to get the most fun out of 15 people squashed into a tiny two-bedroom house.  It was absolutely terrific.

Before we'd gotten settled in well, the youngest in the crowd (my seven-year old nephew) injured his foot running around the pool area.  He immediately began to cry, but when he noticed the skinned area bleeding, those cries became wails and his volume exponentially increased.  We adults pitched in with comments meant to distract him while Mom administered first aid: "Wow! That was quite an acrobatic stunt you performed!" "You have got to be the toughest little monkey around!" "You are gonna have the neatest band-aid in town!" 

His response?  He made the saddest little face ever and looked up at his mom, barely eeking out in a whisper, "It hurts so bad and nobody even CARES!"

We were well-intentioned in encouraging him and trying to keep the little guy from freaking out, but he just wanted us to recognize his pain and let him cry a bit.  

I wonder how many times I do this with adults who are dealing with a bit more than a scraped foot, and even with my children as they deal with the inevitable and constant change involved in our lifestyle.  Sometimes folks just need me to come along beside them, offer a shoulder to cry on, and acknowledge their pain.  Instead, I tell them how strong they are, give them a pat on the back, and point out how God is going to use this for His glory. 

Sure, there is a place for encouragement, but my nephew's reaction reminded me that sometimes, like Job, people need me to simply be there for them, sitting beside them as they grieve and giving them permission to react to the pain.  

How does this look in real life?  As a mom, how do you allow for healthy grieving and adjustment?


  1. What an important point. And frankly, sometimes that type of "encouragement" I give as a mama to my hurt littles isn't really intended to help them but to save me from embarrassment... and to stop the scene before anyone else notices. hopefully, i've gotten a little less worried about that as i've matured in mama-ing.

    as far as healthy grieving and adjustment, sometimes quiet holding and a willingness to let my kiddos see my own tears - tears more for the sake of the child than anything else - has been what's spoken to my children's hearts most. listening and saying nothing other than asking for permission to cry with them because i know it hurts... well, sometimes that's been my best response.

    1. Richelle, I remember the day I ran across a paragraph or two in a parenting book about "encouraging" for the sake of avoiding our own embarrassment. It was screaming my name and made me aware of something I'd never even considered before, but something that sure needed considering. I love what you shared about your best response.

  2. I have realized how quick I am to give advice or a pat on the back as you say, and I'm really working to become a better listener. Not feeling like I have to say much.

    I like what Richelle says about sharing our own struggles appropriately. Sometimes I do that when my daughter shares her hurts with me. I tell her about a similar experience I had. -Olive

    1. As a talker, it's hard for me not to offer advice or encouragement or SOMETHING, but I'm working on listening more, too, Olive. :)