I remember attending a class on parenting when my kids were in junior high school. One of the conversations that has stayed with me was about problems. It resonated with the entire group of parents when the workshop leader said:

  • Good kids have problems.
  • Good parents have problems with their kids.
  • Life is a series of problems.

There was a sigh of relief in the room as all of us parents got some freedom from thinking that perhaps we weren’t good parents or there was something wrong with our kids. What a gift to be reminded that life is a series of problems for everyone.  (from page 93)

Over the holidays, Cindy and I were working on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with Zoe, Reece, and Trey. About halfway to completion, I spilled my coffee over the puzzle. What happened next was a product of our intention to have a great response to problems. We just said, Oops, cleaned it up, and kept working on the puzzle. It even provided an opportunity to use the painted brick Reece gave to us for Christmas to iron out the wet pieces.

Hopefully, years from now the kids will remember the time when Grandpa Paul spilled his coffee and it was no big deal!

As life continues to give you problems, use them as opportunities to notice and begin to change your automatic reactions, which might not be useful or supportive. Life is full of problems, and we might as well act as though we’ve seen enough of them to have an empowering response. 

What is your usual response to problems?

How would your kids describe it?