Do you find that twice or more a week you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry or depressed? Do you find yourself asking the question - "Why is life so hard?"
Do you feel let down as if the life you imagined is never going to come true. Do you feel as if your parents lied to you, holding out a model of the good life that you just can't seem to reach?
You are not alone.
Why is life so hard?
There are hundreds of reasons why this country has seen a downfall in the quality of life. Imagine that each problem you site is like an octopus with thousands of tentacles. Each tentacle is a new reason why the problem can or does exist.
Because of the "tentacles" I won't be able to cover all the reasons why life is so hard, but I'll try to do as many as time and space will allow.
1. Most people don't understand the rules of society and how their actions will make or break the future.
If both of your parents worked and you were placed in a regular daycare, there wasn't enough time to teach you basic lessons about how society works. Perhaps, if your parents came from a working home where they were raised in daycare, they may also not know the rules. How can you teach something you don't know? And it gets worse if your grandparents were also raised in that type of home.
Am I against working parents? NO, NO. Just be sure that you spend your time with your child teaching them how to be honorable, a good friend, a decent person, a moral individual and a compassionate human being. Investigate that daycare. It must support what you are teaching at home. Do they also provide teaching and get involved in the little scrapes that children have? Do they demand that each child learn how to play nice with others? Most of our interactive skills are taught when we are very young. If your daycare stays totally unresponsive to the miniature model of society that goes on daily in their facility - your child will NOT learn how to navigate properly.
When a society believes that all a child needs to grow is to be fed, clothed and given education - the inner child weakens and is replaced with a person who feels, "I better get what I can because no one is going to care about me."
Imagine that person - now grown - and in charge of a company. He's not going to be concerned about the daily lives, needs, wants, families of his employees. He will simply make it hard on you whenever you have a problem in those areas. He will demand that he is taken care of first and the profit margin will be his only ruler of success.
Ah....now lets get really sticky. If that type of child grows up to be a pastor, what then? I've said it many times. What do you get when a selfish jerk becomes a Christian and then becomes a pastor? He's a selfish, jerk pastor. Becoming a Christian "should" but doesn't always change a person's inner self. That remains the same. So the problems with that pastor will be huge. He will see his style as only a reflection of his personality and will not see it as a problem with his faith. At that point the entire church and community will suffer. How will that pastor change how the community interprets "faith"?
It boggles my mind how many pastors want and strive to have mega churches. Why not send some members to other pastors and have smaller individual churches that give the members a personal touch and new pastors a chance to know each member intimately. "Oh, wait Debbie, our church of 5,000 does that. We have smaller services and each unit has it's own sub-pastor."
"Baloney!" Why not just let go of the numbers and have 150 individual churches? Why all be part of one big one? That pastor and his staff wants the fame and recognition. Period. I would love to see a young pastor that says, "I'm in this for the lives I can personally get involved with and change. I am looking for that small church in that small community where I can live and stay for the next 50 years being to those people all that God wants me to be." Wouldn't that be refreshing? What would Jesus Do? Would he want the big church or would he be just as comfortable in the little one?
Why is life so hard? Because more and more people are out for #1. More and more people are not taught to be compassionate. More and more adults do not see the value in playing and working well with others.
2. When a child is not taught how to navigate in the world he is an easy target for Hollywood and the Media. As he is bombarded on a regular basis with a philosophy that promotes taking care of self only, he will feel that his selfish nature is justifiable. And when he watches others that obtain money, fame and special treatment because of their selfishness - the child will naturally assume that the best path for his life is to be just like them.
Remember the movie You've Got Mail? I love that movie, but oh what a lesson it taught. In the last third of the movie Tom Hanks is trying to apologize for putting Meg Ryan out of business. He says to her, "It wasn't personal."
"What is that? I'm so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. What is so wrong with being personal, anyway?"
"I mean, whatever anything is, it ought to begin with being personal."
Unfortunately, a large number of young adults have learned to only take care of self and not be compassionate to others. They are not personal and find any excuse they can to support the behavior that will give them the status they desire. That causes huge problems within any society!
Many of the older clan have released their admiration for compassion because they feel overwhelmed by the lack of compassion in the young and would rather give in to their ways than try to stop the process. Not only are we dealing with nasty young folks, but now we are dealing with frustrated nasty old folks!
Therefore - Life becomes very hard to navigate! Everywhere you turn selfishness rules and compassion is harder to find.
I could go on with this, but then you wouldn't have time to be with your family accomplishing what we've talked about. Let me just give you a quick list. This list could be 100 or more points long. If you have any questions, please contact me and I'll discuss whatever you feel is important.
1. Children are not being taught manners. A society without manners is a society that causes pain.
2. Our society has lowered the bar. Rather than let a child suffer the consequences for bad grades or not winning at a game - we lower the bar and allow them to graduate or win when they did not. Don't be afraid to let your child lose. It will teach him a lot more about his future than you can do with words. Losing now and again will also help him have compassion for the other guy when he wins.
3. Our society plays down everything except money and education. Many children are taught to do well in school, but that isn't life. Being trained properly means that your parents covered every area of life - school, hygiene, world view, compassion, faith, love for your family, love for their community, respect for those in authority, etc...
4. Our society has produced too many adults that think they are hot stuff just because Mom and Dad said so. It's important to build your child's self-esteem so they will get out in the world and try. It is not good to build your child's self-esteem on false information. If he's being a little four-year-old jerk, tell him! Inform him that others will not put up with his behavior and that life will not be good to him. Praise him for the good actions he exhibits, don't glorify the negative and blame it on other people.
5. Don't give your child everything. Society is filled with bored people who have seen it all and done it all. They have no appreciation for sitting on a porch swing drinking lemonade. After all, they have traveled all over the world and they are only 16. For heaven's sake! Who wants to be with a person like that? I sure don't. Once you've done it all, then what? I was taken back when a 16 year old once told me,
"I'm sick of traveling. I wish I could just stay home and be normal, but my parents won't hear of it. I've got to be smart and know about everything and go everywhere. Sometimes I just want to run away and hide."
Is it any wonder that that child is disillusioned with life. He has nothing to look forward to. He has no dream to strive for. Consequently he has turned to a life of sin and darkness. There was nothing else left for him.
Why is life so hard?
God had a plan. We were very close to that plan at one time in our history. But because a small segment of our society was not following the plan - we decide to change. We threw the baby out with the bath water and turned our back on the plan. Now, society is even worse.
DON'T BE DISCOURAGED.
DO YOUR PART TO MAKE LIFE BETTER.
BE COMPASSIONATE AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN.
TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL - INCLUDING COMPASSION.
SURROUND YOUR CHILDREN WITH PRAYER WHEN THEY MUST-WILL BE INVOLVED WITH THOSE WHO MAKE LIFE SO HARD.
SUPPORT THOSE IN POWER THAT CAN CHANGE LIFE FOR THE BETTER WHILE YOU MAKE SURE YOU ARE CHANGING YOUR DAILY INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR WORLD.
As each of us change our own little segment of the world - society will change. We have not lost the battle yet.
And if you need to, let me know how life is hard for you. I'll cry with you, pray with you and together we will try to find answers for individual problems.
The next time someone is mean to you or is making life hard, just remember that they are probably more miserable that they are making you. They don't have answers and their life isn't on track. Be kind. Pray for them and navigate around them.
In one of his sermons Dr. Foth recalled walking through the woods with his five-year-old grandson. As often happens, an animal had left a deposit on the trail. His grandson looked back at grandpa and said, "Grandpa, when there's poop on the trail - just walk around it!"
Sounds like a good philosophy for all of us.
God loves you,