Learning to embrace tough life experiences

Over the Christmas break we were on holidays and were staying with family. My little girl unfortunately likes to rise at 5pm, which is a little too early for my liking. Fortunately it is only 7 mornings a week though…

Anyway, so I could keep the rest of the family asleep, I was taking her to a nearby café each morning so I could grab a coffee and let her make all of the noise she does, without feeling bad.

As is normal with cafes, there is the usual group of locals who congregate each morning to get their coffee fix. One local saw me, and after a few mornings of watching me struggle to keep her entertained, he thought to offer me some advice.

He told me that as a young father, it gets better, so to just hang in there and the season will pass. My response shocked him though when I told him that this little one was my youngest and that I have three other children, the oldest who is not that far off learning to drive.

He quickly realized that, as I had been there three other times before, that by the fourth time I should have it mostly together. He was right, and it is called experience. When the other three were younger, I thought this season would never end. It was year after year of nappies, day sleeps, and all of the other challenges of occupying little children.

But then you get older children and you quickly realize that babies are easy when you compare to social media, who your kids are hanging out with, what they are going to do with their lives, and so on. This guy thought I was probably out of my depth, but the truth was that my years of experience meant that I was coping with it pretty easily. Yes, I’d prefer to have read the paper while I drank my coffee in peace, but the season actually goes by very quickly. It is a privilege to spend that time with my daughter and we have such a strong bond.

And so it is with so many other areas of life. When you’re going through difficult or challenging times, you want it all to end. In fact, you wish you never had to go through it in the first place. However, not only will it end, but you’ll come out the other side of your challenges a bigger person.

Things that caused me to lose sleep at night at one stage don’t worry me anymore. Experience means that you’re bigger, you’re stronger, and you can handle more. And that is why, while the situation you might be walking through right now might not be pretty, count it all joy. You’re going to come out the other end better for it.

Experience counts, and while the gaining of experience can be painful, the lessons learnt will be well worth it.

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