by Dianna Flett

I had a strong conversation with my son recently. It was one of those life lesson talks that I hope helps him grow.

I’m very purposeful with my serious discussions. Usually I ask the son involved to come to the front porch and sit with me. It has become our grown up “time out room”. I save those front porch talks for the important stuff. I’m not sure if they like those talks or not but they always result in growth for both of us.

To set the stage, my 17 year old and I had to do something unpleasant. We got wet, and muddy and had to go up and down flights of stairs numerous times carrying, big, bulky, wet, equipment. We had to walk through spider webs and poke around trying to find drainage openings all in muggy weather that was followed quickly by pouring rain (and a tornado watch). It was not pleasant. My son overreacted in a teen boy sort of hormonal way and rather than blow up, I very purposely became very calm.

It was a bit creepy, actually, how calm I became. It was the equivalent of me whispering to them when they were young children and I was very angry with them. Whispering always got their attention.

After our effort and showers I asked my son to join me on the front porch.

The conversation went something like:

“Son, I’m disappointed in how this whole thing went. I know it was tough but you need to understand, we don’t quit. We don’t say “that’s too hard” or “get someone else to do it.” We are a family that works to influence outcomes. We work together to make it better even when it is hard. I was disappointed in your response to what we were doing and I want you to consider what I’m saying. I have to be able to count on you and sometimes that won’t be comfortable but when you show undue frustration or undue anger because things are hard, it makes me consider my ability to count on you. Do you understand?”

“Yup.”

That’s all I got—yup. But I know my message was loud and clear. He went upstairs to his room and then he came back downstairs to help with dinner.

I want my boys to grow into strong men. I don’t underestimate my role in that process. Sometimes “suck it up” means more coming from your momma. Especially when she is working beside you soaking wet, sweating, muddy with spider webs hanging off of her arms.

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We’re all in this together and sometimes you just have to suck it up. I think the “suck it up” mentality is one we don’t teach enough. Today I’d equate it with the concept of grit. Life is hard but it is harder if you don’t learn how to navigate challenges and just deal with the angst of living.

This is a year of “embracing the suck” for me. I’ll be okay, but sometimes the days pass more labored than others. Sometimes I have to pull myself outside and remind myself that I have to just put my head down and work hard. Lift my head up and look forward and set the example I want my children to follow. Maybe someone out there needed to hear this.

I hope it will help you lift your head and move forward—always forward.