A family of five I know has had a heck of a year. They’ve lost a grandfather, suffered the loss of a job, and now struggle with the serious illness of their mother.
This family’s three children have missed out on the carefree days of youth in the last year. Instead, they’ve attended a funeral and mourned the loss of one who played a significant role in their lives.
They’ve listened in as their parents strategized about how to make do with less in the face of a lost salary.
And now they sit with their mom as she recovers from medical treatment which they hope will return her to health.
So while their piano lessons have taken a hiatus this year, they’ve been learning lessons of an entirely different nature from some pretty amazing teachers.
While some of us would be whining about our misfortune, these parents have taken a different approach. Knowing that their responses would be laying down a pattern for their children to follow, they’ve met every trial with hope, determination and even humor.
They’ve refused to see their glass as half (or even three-quarters!) empty. Instead, they’ve accepted these slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. They recognize that tough things happen to everyone and that they have not been singled out for trouble. And they’ve noticed all the good things happening all along the way.
So while their children may not have learned lessons they’d hoped to teach them this year, they’ve been learning something else that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives: resilience.
And while it would be great for them to become accomplished pianists, it will be more critical to their successful adulthood to have learned that hard things may happen but they needn’t define us. Their brilliant parents are modeling for them how to get back up when life knocks them down.
Watching how their own parents manage those challenges guides them to the strategies they need to use those boulders of adversity as stepping stones to their own success.