Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Realistic Optimism: Lessons from a Seven-Year-Old

Earlier today, I was explaining to the kids that I want to try out an Ergo baby carrier with Claire in it (one of our local stores has them in stock and allows you to test them with your kiddos). Ladan replied, "Cool. I guess if it works, you can use it for Claire when we walk too far for her to keep up. And then, if our baby doesn't die, you can use it for the baby too." Just that matter of fact. Yes. Precisely. And WOW!

I love that he doesn't take things for granted and at the same time isn't fatalistic and woeful. We have walked through some tough situations with friends who have miscarried, friends who have had stillborn babies, friends who have had children die shortly after birth, and friends who have had children die at very young ages. As it turns out, several of our friends are dealing with trials like these right now. We explain to Ladan what's happening and how we can pray for these families throughout. Ladan has learned not to just assume that everything is always going to be fine. He tears up when he learns about the death of a baby. And he prays for the families he knows are struggling as they grieve the loss of their little ones.

At the same time, he can maintain a balance that also does not assume that something WILL go wrong. As he is fully aware that things can and do go wrong sometimes, he is also consistently looking at the bright side of things and remembering all that there is to be thankful for. He can do this in a way that doesn't make light of horrifying situations and at the same time doesn't minimize the great things that are happening. It's a pretty great characteristic for a barely-7-year-old, I think.

It's the kind of approach where you truly look forward to what's ahead and can be genuinely and overwhelmingly thankful if and when things go really well... because you know that it didn't have to be that way. You know that things could have gone really wrong. But they didn't. And that is not to be taken for granted. But what if things go wrong? Well, you knew that was a possibility. And as much as it still stinks to high heaven when you're in the middle of it, and you could be gasping for air to breathe because it's so hard, you know that there must be SOMETHING to be thankful for. You just have to find it. It might take time, but you'll find it if your eyes and heart are open.

It's realistic optimism, and I love it! It's just a hunch, but I think the Lord also delights in seeing this kind of thinking in the mind of a 7-year-old He created.


Mrs. Haid said...

I hope I can raise such a sensitive and charming child.

Nancy H. said...

Wow - I know we've experienced a few "real" moments when Ben says something so straight forward about Sam and I think - why do we as adults "sugar-coat" so many things when fact is fact.

BTW - how are the Perrins?

Hope you all are well.

- Nancy

Anonymous said...

WOW! God has TRULY blessed him to be able to be open with his feelings. How wonderful to have such 'balance' so young. I love him lots.