“Storms of life are like storms of spring, they bring blossoms.”
It was raining as I drove to the clinic for my doctor’s appointment. I got to thinking how unpredictable the weather has been lately, and how much everyone has been complaining about the weather, and the weathermen, and the snow and sleet and on and on and on. I heard on the news that people on the East Coast are actually suffering from “Snow Rage.” Who knew?
Of course, everyone was complaining about the weather practically everywhere I went to today. A wise lady at the gym said, “We do need the rain, to bring us the flowers we love.” Then I got to thinking how navigating our lives, especially where our children are concerned, is sometimes like living through April showers and all the unpredictably of the weather. It was then, I realized we can draw so many parallels for life, from observing the weather.
1. April Showers
The first reaction most of us have to any discomfort in our lives, is to complain. Never mind that eventually everything works out for our good. Even as we know with certainty that the rain showers will pass, we should realize, that the showers we are facing in our lives are temporary and will ultimately pass too. In the meantime, what are we learning from the showers, or discomfort of our lives? Several years ago, I almost went into business with a friend that I really trusted. Somehow everything we planned on doing failed. I cried, I lamented and prayed, asking God why? I felt this was the one opportunity to start a business and why wouldn’t anything work out as planned. Eventually, I began to see certain characteristics I had not noticed before and realized that this person, whom I called a friend was a “con man”. Thank God he stood firm and protected me from myself. That is how our relationship is with our teens. There are times, when they insist on what they want, like hanging out with the wrong crowd, or demanding unearned money or taking risks we know are not good for them, etc. We see the bigger picture and as much as it may hurt us to say no, we ultimately know that we are doing it for the greater good of our teens.
2. Every cloud has a silver lining
Do you remember a period in your life, when everything seemed to go wrong? You start remembering statements like “everything happens in threes” and you wonder when number three will hit. You are terrified. What else is going to go wrong? You almost feel like you can’t make it another day, and then you see a hint of a silver lining and things start to improve. Sometimes, we face challenges in life that prepare us for the blessing ahead. I know that if we will admit it to ourselves, we grow up just a little bit more, we become more tolerant, we figure out how to solve problems better. Just as the showers water the plants and they eventually bloom, our lives eventually bloom too. I remember a primary school mate, who could never do anything right. His family always worried about him and sometimes wondered if he would amount to anything. But they persisted, taking extra time to teach him life skills and lessons as well as the school curriculum. This child is now the CEO of a company and sometimes I marvel at how exceedingly successful he is. His family in effect, tilled the soil and planted good seeds and watered him to success. I always tell parents: “Never give up on a child.” Sometimes they need to go through the period of adversity to help them find their life skills. Having gone through the adversity they learn to empathize with people, and learn how to succeed against all odds.
3. May’s flowers
Perhaps no one will admit this openly, but how many times do parents see other children, and ask themselves; “Why are my children not like these children?” We see May’s flowers and don’t realize all the showers that happened before the flowers bloomed. There are no perfect children and no perfect families. I personally think life would be very boring if it was perfect. Many parents don’t realize their children are like May’s flowers to other parents. Just as there are roses and daffodils and sunflowers, each child has unique gifts, talents and attributes. Rather than envying other families we need to discover our children’s gifts, and nurture them to bloom. Don’t compare your children to others, encourage your child in what they do best. Help them acquire knowledge, to excel in whatever field they are in and you will smile anytime you talk about your “May flowers.”
4. The weather is so unpredictable
We all joke that the weathermen are the only professionals who can be wrong about 50 % of the time, and still keep their jobs. But just think about it, isn’t life just as unpredictable? How many times have we been told to just write our goals and our dreams and of course the timeline and everything will happen if we believe? Trust me, I believe and do exactly that. But I’ve also realized that just as the weathermen can only predict so much with what their systems tell them, we can plan our lives, with what we see today and experience the same accuracy. We as parents must realize we ultimately have to let go and make the most of what life gives us. I have met lots of families, who want their teens to go into medicine, engineering, law or some other profession. They try to lead them gently and sometimes not so gently down that path. Some parents really insist and end up with very unhappy teens who act out in other ways. Ultimately, no one in this scenario is happy. Sometimes we have to go with what we are given. So what if your child does not go into the profession you want him to go into, or he’s a C student instead of an A student like you. Love him anyway. Nurture him. Find his strengths. He will yet surprise. People all over the world have made successful lives for themselves without a college degree, and others need a college degree. There is no cookie cutter way to raise kids. The unpredictability is challenging when we are going through the event, but how enjoyable is it to look back and remember the season we passed through successfully. We sit and laugh at the good old days. The weather is unpredictable and so is life. We need to learn to grow and adjust as necessary.
I learned a lesson today: Stop complaining about the weather, and use my umbrella to protect myself, whilst nature takes its course. Parents too are equipped with so many tools to help them through the unpredictability of the teen years. We need to stop complaining during the times of adversity. We have to believe that just like the showers they are preparing our families for something greater. I truly believe that there is indeed a silver lining in every cloud, we just have to train ourselves to look for it. We should appreciate our teens more, our beautiful flowers that we have been blessed with, yes even through the unpredictable times.
As Anthony J. D’Angelo so succinctly put it, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”