There IS Hope

Category: Weekly Columns

When a parent is in the middle of a kid-crisis, it feels like it will never end. Kid crises are just like all crises in that they will end: more often than not, without irreparable consequences. I am a living testament to this reality as a little less than two years ago; my son was on a downward spiral that felt like it would only end in disaster.

The details are personal, though my son has written about it and will allow me to publish his story later this year. That would be around the time he begins college at the SINGLE college that he applied to! Yes, he applied to just one college: the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He’s a rock ‘n’ roller and determined that Berklee was the only school he was interested in attending.

College Was JUST a Dream

But, I am getting ahead of the story. Two years ago, he was not focused on going to college, doing well in school, or really growing his musical skills. He was on a destructive path. He was in trouble. I was scared. But, I did what I had to do and he ultimately began a turn-around.

Again, you can imagine the details. We read about the downward spirals our teens descend into every day. My son was on one of those trips and it felt like it wouldn’t ever end, it would only get worse.

This is where the parenting challenge is at its most frightening. A parent often believes that they are doing the right things for their children yet sometimes the results seem contrary to that effort. When there isn’t an endemic cause – a serious learning or psychology issue – a parent can’t understand why it could happen to “their darling boy or girl.” It happens. It happens in every demographic, every family structure, and in every culture.

These Challenges Test Parents

These challenges test parents. These challenges are what will set YOU apart as a strong parent. It’s easy when a child excels seemingly because mom and dad have done all the right things. It’s not so easy when mom and dad have “done all the right things” yet son or daughter choose a path of recklessness or self-destruction.

There is hope. And, it resides in mom and dad’s diligence and unwillingness to give up on their children. Let’s be honest. There are times – especially during the teen years – where mom and dad really do want to throw in the towel. Those times usually revolve around destructive behaviors from drugs to drinking, to school rebellion and underage sexual activity.

And, let’s face another harsh truth. There’s a degree of luck in every aspect of life. We all know parents who seem to have done every thing just perfectly, yet had troubled children that caused unending heartache. And equally, there are examples of children that came from the worst background and made incredibly smart choices and excelled. How can either of those examples not be about luck or a destiny that we can’t begin to fathom?

Life Without Hope Is Life Not Worth Living

Life without hope is life that is not worth living. We may not be able to change things, but we sure can try and we sure can choose to see the upside and examples of success rather than dwell on the negative.

Many in the New Age space believe strongly about a positive attitude. Dale Carnegie wrote about it far before the term New Age had even been coined. Does a positive attitude make a difference? I tend to believe so, but it may not always work. However, we do know that a negative attitude usually ends up negatively so I’ll opt for the positive. At least with the positive choice, those around us might be able to tolerate us. Seriously.

When you are in the midst of a kid crisis you can project and carry your fears on your sleeve, you can bring them to your marriage, your friends, or you can choose to focus on hope and a positive outcome. The latter may or may not work, but it will make the journey easier and those around you less stressed by your fears and worries.

Women usually have other women that they confide in. Men often don’t have other men in their lives, which is why I’ve written and spoken much about man’s need for other men. Sharing every worry and fear with your spouse will damage your relationship.

There IS Hope

There is hope. We see it all the time. Just look at People magazine. It is probably the most successful contemporary magazine and every issue always has at least one story of triumph. There is always one story about someone overcoming incredible odds and surviving, thriving, and inspiring others. Choose to look at those stories; choose to believe things will improve, and choose to do whatever work you must to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for your kids.

There is hope.