My husband Jonathan and I recently took a class focused on caring for kids with trauma. This was the advanced class. Not because we were advanced, but because we learned so much in the first class that we wanted more. So maybe that makes it more of a true beginner’s class.
Some in the class though were definitely not so green. They had hard tales of hard kids. Kids who obviously had more than their share of hard themselves. More than anyone’s share.
They needed help. To find fresh ideas, new strategies for discipline, and better ways of listening.
But perhaps even more, they needed to share. To find friends, compassion for them and their kids, and to be heard without being judged.
My heart ached as these women spoke, quantifying desperation with story upon story. Each different and yet the same. Hurting child, hurting mama.
The leader of our little group was a brilliantly kind woman with a steady and cheerful demeanor who went there. As I might look toward my watch when someone’s tale took more than a few minutes, she leaned in. Validating the mama’s pain, just as she encouraged us to validate the child’s pain.
Eventually we moved along, but she didn’t push anyone to move on. The difference there seemed small, but felt enormous.
It allowed us to keep going without having to ignore the realities of what we were dealing with. Without having to pretend.
These women didn’t pretend. They were honest about their realities. The words, the tantrums, the fights, the all of it. And through all of it, our leader didn’t pass out pretty bandaids or simple fixes, but she did say one thing that stuck with me. Not so much advice, as a simple truth to hold on to.
“This too shall pass.”
One hard stage might bring another. But there will be rest in between. Even if just while the child is sleeping. But there is that. No one can scream or spit or curse forever. And in the middle of that screaming or spitting or cursing, that promise is a strong refuge.