We all know that life is full of unpredictable events, some of which are painful and may have long-term negative consequences. Fortunately, there are things we parents can do to prepare our kids for the unexpected and to increase the likelihood they learn from those circumstances rather than being damaged by them.

Suffering Is a Normal Part of Life

God’s Word is full of references to the pain and suffering that comes from living in a sinful world. We’re told that heaven is our eternal home and we’ll never be fully at peace in this world. History has taught us that no generation or people group has been—or ever will be—immune to pain, suffering, decay, destruction, and death. In fact, suffering is probably more prevalent in life than joy because so many things are out of our control.

Paul understood this well. In Romans 5:3-5, we read how Paul learned to view persecution and difficulty in his life. He used a growth mind-set to develop perseverance and character. Throughout the Psalms, David also displayed a growth mind-set. He leaned on God to help him respond to his enemies, pain, sorrow, and difficulties in his life.

Why, then, do people so often respond to painful circumstances with disbelief, denial, and anger? The answer to “Why me, God?” in the face of suffering that isn’t self-inflicted is, “Because you’re a human being.” Chuck Swindoll once wrote, “The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.”[1] This is important to remember as we help our children learn to manage the hurts of life.

  1. Chuck Swindoll, “Insight for Today: A Daily Devotional,” Insight for Living Ministries, November 19, 2015, https://www.insight.org/resources/daily-devotional/individual/the-value-of-a-positive-attitude (accessed September 12, 2018).