Inadvertently, I had the same conversation with both my teenagers recently. Different circumstances, same theme. My son led with his anger. My daughter with her pain.
“This place is not for me!” yelled my son.
“I can’t do this,” cried my daughter, a box of tissues emptied beside her, the dirty ones crinkled in a pile on the floor.
At first, I listened. I validated. I was the Super-Mom container. I let them know that I understand their difficulty, their frustration, their near impossible situation.
Then, I told them I was going to tell them something that they would not like.
“Suck it up! “I said.
“That’s so mean!” screamed my daughter.
Ouch. My heart hurt. I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was adultifyng. Helping them grow up. The fact that life is hard and we can’t always quit, run, hide or leave is a very important grown-up lesson to understand as early as possible.
It scares me – this generation coming up. Hard work is not their friend. Life on easy street has become the norm. Their low tolerance for frustration acceptable.
Yes, sometimes we should leave, quit, move on. But not before taking a good hard look at what is going on. If I am not being abused, then maybe it is worth the cost of the necessary hard work for the long-term gain and glory. In other words, you can’t just dump your job, your wife, your goal or your child and get a new one. Sometimes, most times, you gotta suck it up. Put on your big kid britches and make it work. And that, my friend, ain’t always fun and games.
But that’s what being an adult means. We work the long program. We delay gratification. We realize that we do what we need to do now to get what we want later.
So, for today, I guess I will be mean … suck it up.