What I Want to Teach my Sons About Pain


I can admit it- I am a fixer… I don’t like to feel pain and I don’t like anyone around me to feel pain, discomfort, anxiety, sadness, feeling left out, etc… I’ve always been like this- even as a child…I am quick to react when there is pain- I am not one to let it simmer for too long…


It is an enemy and I must defeat it at all costs…


I have two young boys and nothing in the world has ever compared to the fierce love I have for them. I have to say that as a parent, I ESPECIALLY do not want my children to experience pain…nothing wrong with that- we need to protect our children, comfort them, be a source of safety…


But as my children have grown and God has been growing ME,  I have realized something-  I have been teaching my children the wrong things about pain…


Recently my seven year old son was not invited to his best friend’s birthday party. I could see in his face- the hurt, the crush of rejection, as his best friend talked about the party he was having that night.  So- I did what I DO- I said to him- “Well, I bet he could only invite a few people and he probably chose some kids from his class.”- This did not help…


 I was then tempted to use this as a “teaching moment” by pulling out my Bible. I wanted to pray for him. But I didn’t. Honestly-these approaches has not proven to be helpful in the past and it frustrated me. My son actually said to me once- “Mom- why do you always have to bring God up?”


Now- listen here. My boy LOVES Jesus- he thinks about God a lot and talks about Him. He loves to memorize verses and for a seven year old, I think he has a pretty strong faith…but for some reason when he was hurt, he did not want me to “go there”…


So this time…I held back and just let him cry and talk. I sat in silence and waited…I asked him if he wanted to talk about it (usually I am the one doing ALL the talking)- and he looked surprised-and he began to talk- he said some cruel things- he was wanting to be vengeful on his friend- he was angry…I did not lecture him on loving his enemies, I sat still and listened…


He eventually calmed down and then asked to watch a movie- I let him be. I checked in with him later and he told me he was not angry anymore- that he was okay…I am now praying that the Holy Spirit will teach him through this and I will look for an opportunity to talk about it again if God prompts me too.    


In reflecting on my reactions to my son I have come to realize, at the age of 37, that I had some things to learn about how to handle pain… I remember as a young person, I decided that I must-at all costs-find ways to stop pain, stop the feeling, stop the hurt in my heart- so I looked for band-aids- quick fixes…


I don’t want to teach my sons the same thing.


I realized that many times when my boys are hurting I am so tempted to offer them ice cream, or take them to get a toy, or promise them something fun (nothing entirely wrong with these things of course). But what message am I giving them? They are internalizing everything I do and say- what are they learning from me?


If I jump right in and try to tell him- “You need to pray for your friend and not be angry or hurt”- or if I go the opposite direction and again- try to distract him with something to take away the pain, what am I telling him about pain? That external things can make it “better” or I label his pain and try to give him a Christian formula to move forward…?


So in that moment  I felt led to just let him be- so that he can see that he can be in pain, feel pain and he can move forward. And now I am trusting God to talk to his heart and I am waiting for my opportunity as well…He knows that seeking God is the answer- I have told him this truth many times…


We all do this- right? We eat when we are sad, we exercise like crazy when we are anxious, we read books about love and romance when we feel lonely, we clean up/organize and straighten up everything we can when we feel out of whack. I do this, I’ve always done this, it is a big part of my life. I’ve also told myself what I knew in my head about what the Bible says about pain and I would do the right things- pray, read the Bible and change whatever I could…and yet- there the pain remained… 


It was not until I became a parent that I realized that I had no idea how to handle pain. When I examined my reactions to my child’s pain, I realized that I had not yet learned how to handle my OWN pain.


I have wounds that  need to be allowed to air-out, to “be”, to be exposed- in order for the healing to begin. I need to learn to let the pain “be” and let God work… When I allow the hurt/pain/wound to just “be”, I wait, I pause, I sit with it, I don’t have to push it away or judge it or fix it…


And the Holy Spirit ALWAYS comes…the great Counselor He is, the One who prays for me with groans that I cannot even comprehend. 


Romans 8:26- “Likewise, the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered.”


I want my sons to know that God cares about their pain, that He will be there for them. I want to continue to have that discussion and teach them these truths, but I also want them to know that they don’t have to be afraid to experience pain, hurt and disappointment- they don’t have to push it away or fix it. I want to let the Holy Spirit do His work. I will teach them the truths of the Word, no doubt, but I will also give them space so that God can do His work.  

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9 thoughts on “ What I Want to Teach my Sons About Pain

  1. Liz,
    You have learned in your thirties what I have only just begun to come to terms with in my fifties. Reading this post felt like you were telling my story too! This confirmed and encouraged me to continue seeking Jesus in the midst of my pain instead of trying to distract myself from it. Brave writing!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wendy! Thank you for commenting. I think that it takes a lot of bravery to continue to work through these kinds of heart issues. I also like to distract myself from my pain. I’m so thankful that God teaches me so much through my children.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Janis- I can admit that I am a terrible waiter. I am such an action girl and I’m so thankful that the Holy Spirit made me be still, quiet my self and just sit with the moment. And then when I reflected back later I was amazed at what God was teaching me. Sometimes you can say so much more by not saying anything at all. I am all about unpacking some type of five-step plan for getting through the hard stuff in life, but every person is different and I am excited to learn how to the room for the Holy Spirit to work in my sons life. Great to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great! I have been stepping back so my 10 year old can talk to me instead of me dragging it out of him. Lately, he is having a hard time with the loss of his grandpa. He keeps saying he doesn’t tell anyone he is sad and his heart is gloomy! Oh how it breaks my heart. I am hoping he will turn to me more, now that I told him he can let me know when he feels sad or pray to God who will help him through his hurt. This parenting stuff is hard!! Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer- I can definitely relate to the dragging out thing! It hurts so much when our kiddos are in pain. I think that’s great that you told him that you were there for him if you feel sad and also encourage him to pray to God. you gave him two healthy steps to take. And yes parenting is definitely not for the faint of heart. God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer I can relate. My son hurts for his Grandpa. His Grandpa died about two years ago and sitting with him while he cries or wants to talk has helped him out so much. It’s o.k. to be sad. Feeling loss just shows how much we care. It is hard to see our sons hurt.


  3. Pingback: My Holiness Blesses the World: Lessons is Kindness - Opening to the Possibility

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