The Beauty of Discomfort

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Why do we keep our children from having challenges?

I have to say that I did not think about this as a problem until the last year and a half. I am a homeschool mom of three boys, and I really never thought about my boys facing challenges in life that will teach them and prepare them for their future.

When I think about the most successful people in this world (not just with money, but in life in general), their story usually includes some sort of struggle or being able to push beyond as a way for  motivation to do what needs to be done. I realize that these people have been through struggles and have been taught how to deal with adversity in life. I’ve also come to realize that as a homeschool mom, my homeschool kids do not deal with very much adversity.

They don’t have to worry about getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning to be at school on time. They don’t have to worry about being bullied from kids or need to worry about teachers that just might not be very nice. But this isn’t just a homeschool problem, but a larger societal problem in general. I believe kids these days are only shown what it is to be comfortable.

As parents, we don’t intentionally want to put our kids in any uncomfortable situations, but that prohibits them from learning important life skills. As a nurse, and somebody in society in general, I hear more and more about depression and anxiety over things that really aren’t that profound. I truly believe that our kids are lacking the skills on how to deal with adversity because we do not allow them to experience adversity in the first place.

 As an owner of a Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense academy, I hear on a daily basis from parents, “I really want them to do this, and I really believe that this is good for them, but I just can’t get them out of the car” or “I just can’t get them to come.” Training jiu jitsu is not easy. It is hard, it is a challenge and  it is something that will make your kids put in work, but that work will be for something rewarding.

Professor Miller, the black belt for the academy and other owner, always says that everybody that steps on the mat will be challenged emotionally, physically and mentally every single time (and I also truly believe this). It doesn’t have to be jiu jitsu, but I highly suggest that we stop allowing our kids to make the decisions that will only make them happy and comfortable. Let’s give them the abilities and skills needed to get them through adversity. As parents, we need to let them go through trials and tribulations, so that they will emerge victorious whenever they feel as if something is tough, complex or too hard. They’ll learn how to deal and figure out challenges as adults later in life.

And I don’t say all this because I have done this perfectly. In fact, I am in the midst of making my oldest, who is 13, do some things in his life that are extremely uncomfortable for him. I wish I would have made this decision a long time ago, but I’m so glad that I’m pushing him out of his comfort zones now. I’m pushing him to be in situations that are anything but cozy and comfy. He needs to learn what it means to be uncomfortable, even if he doesn’t want to. This will only build his character in the long term. I’m doing this in hopes that he will begin to realize his potential and build the skills he’ll need later on. I aim to make him a capable adult, who will be able to deal with life’s complexities and challenges. So lets find beauty in discomfort and teach our kids the same.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash