When I’m in a hurry and trying to get somewhere quickly, nothing irritates me as much as a speed bump—especially when it comes out of nowhere and takes me by surprise! While flying through life, attempting to balance the countless things on my plate, I sometimes get hit by a speed bump that reminds me I have to slow down. They’re never fun, but these speed bumps in our lives offer a perfect opportunity for reflection and evaluation.
Over the past 24 years, Mark and I have faced countless parenting speed bumps. Illnesses, friendships gone awry, academic transitions, disappointments, puberty, learning to drive, first dates, and so many others.
I remember one parenting speed bump came when my daughter Emily was in the third grade. She had loved school until then but suddenly changed out of the blue. Where she used to come home from school overflowing with stories to tell, she was now moody and distracted and didn’t seem to want to talk about her day. She became increasingly distracted, grumpy, disorganized, and her grades were slipping.
Ever the concerned mom, I began sleuthing around for clues. I found notes in her backpack that were being passed around in class and concluded that she simply must be goofing off. So I got frustrated with her. And of course, that made her frustrated with me! Until one day, I found out that her teacher’s health had been failing for months, and she had lost control of her class because she didn’t have the energy to keep up with her students. The results were chaotic. Emily thrives on structure and is easily distracted, so that environment had been very bad for her. Yet I had blamed her instead of properly evaluating the situation.
On this podcast, Mark and I talk about some of the speed bumps we have encountered in parenting and how challenges have actually strengthened our relationships with our kids.