How about hard spells?
Are you in one, coming out of one, or going into one?
Are you in one, coming out of one, or going into one?
Maybe you call it a Rough Patch, a Hard Bit, a Bit of a Trial, a Messy Season.... we have lots of terms for the hard times that hit every human, and every family, no matter our age or culture or background.
A "hard spell" looks very different in various seasons and in different families.
Let's talk about the three main spaces where hard spells make us reassess our present circumstances.
In Daily Work, the hard patch might look like a new attitude from a child, or a disability, or a disease or condition that creates new waves and ruffles. The day to day functions have changed, and we are frustrated that things that were once easy or second nature simply are not any more an easy habit we can achieve on auto pilot, and these new steps cause a LOT of waves or ruffled feathers in the family dynamic. Maybe this is you - you're in a Hard Spell in daily life.
In School Time, the hard patch usually looks something like laziness in a child our spouse, a struggle to learn something, or too many things on the plate of activities. It's often a memory issue, or a discipline issue, or just a skills level that we are expecting to be easier! Homeschooling is not a guarantee for anything at all, except that you'll likely have more time with your children. Other than that, homeschooling has its pros and cons, just like any other educational path for families. Are you in a hard spell in schooling and lessons? Is it a particular subject, time of day, or event? Nailing down where the hard spell exists may help you ascertain the best response to it.
Relationships in Family Life - this is the hardest of hard spells. Well, you'll see why in the next section. When you have unforgiveness, or some sort of wounding, or just abrasiveness between you and someone you love, someone in your daily life... this is the hardest of the hard spells.
So... what do you do?
There are a myriad of ways to respond - truly millions of options. Breaking it down to three general responses will help.
The three options: Pushing through, Leaning in, or Holding back….
Choice number one: PUSH THROUGH. You can push through. Keep on keeping on. Take it in stride. Change virtually NOTHING, except to expect the new changes and adjust your attitude to those changes, but not your actions, expectations, or results from the day. You know it'll be ugly, and it'll feel bad, but you just keep on plugging. This is often a good choice while we figure out what to do "next." If the sickness is a short term one, or a new concept in school lessons (Spanish, I'm looking at you!) will soon no longer be "new" - PUSHING through is a great idea in MANY instances in any of the three areas. Keeping the schedule, continuing with the family's rhythm of life can often add a bit of stability to carry us and our children through when other things are topsy turvy.
Choice number two: Lean Into the Discomfort. This one is likely the hardest, because it's not cut and dry. You recognize the hard spell. You'll TALK about it to others - inside and outside the family, within and without of the actual problem. You validate the idea that, "Yes, this is hard." But you don't necessarily change too much. You may make small changes, involve as many people as makes sense, and you are open and vulnerable with as many people as makes sense - maybe NOT the mom behind you in the grocery store, but maybe yes, the moms who are in your co-op, church group, or on your block (if they are trustworthy.) You collect advice, input, and you vent a little, but you don't run or try to fix it ...unless you DO! This option is an experiment. You're OPEN to input, and you're admitting that not only is this hard, but you don't know what to do in the daily life, or in the school time, or in a relationship. LEAN IN, but do NOT close down, and do not make any permanent choices. Everything is just a slight adjustment, and no one is hiding from the pain. It's like when you're hungry. It's ok to be hungry. You may admit it to yourself and others. And you feel the effects of your hunger, and maybe others do too. And you wait. And you think, and you ask for a menu, and you peruse, and check how much cash is in your wallet - all in the MIDST of being hungry. The hunger doesn't kill you. It's just uncomfortable. And you're going to wait for the BEST option on what to eat. The best option available, at the time. Or maybe you decide you can wait a little longer for another menu. See? LEAN IN. You won't die... but you will be uncomfortable while you live through this hard spell.
Choice number three: Hold Back (Follow the Peace). When faced with a hard spell in Daily Life... sometimes we can just hold back - he part that causes problems - the event, words, activity, chore, visit... maybe we skip it. We find the most peaceful option and just avoid for now -- hold back, for now. We wait on the kid to grow, the event to change, the leadership to move on, etc. Instead of changing OURSELVES, we wait, pull back, and wait for the hard bit to change while we remain outside of it. Same with School Lessons - the Spanish lesson is too hard? It's causing issues? Maybe we wait a week. The child needs to mature, or the other parts of life need to settle. Take your time, hold back, follow the peace. It'll be there. With relationships - what's your jurisdiction? Can you ACTUALLY affect this person, problem, or situation? NO? Then maybe your choice is HOLD BACK. Just wait on them. Maybe you try again later, maybe you don't - recognize your circle of influence and wait for the situation to change, the constants to move on, or the problems in the situation to at least become more familiar. Everything changes. That's the one thing that's for sure a constant in life: CHANGE!
Comment below, and encourage one another - what hard spells have you been through? What choice did you make? Would you change it, or do it again the same way?