Victim or Hero?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil. 4:13 NKJV

A high school senior girl stood in front of an audience giving her salutatory address. It was students, with their parents, who had taken the senior year online instead of in the classroom. “I never considered myself a victim”, she said. “Rather the many changes in my life became opportunities to learn and grow.”

This young lady went on to explain that her dad had left the family before she started kindergarten.  In order to support the family, her mom had been required to move to several different places to work and earn money.  This young lady had attended five different schools.  Now, she was graduating from the online class because they had arrived at this destination too late to start at the beginning of the school year.  At this writing, she has earned her Master’s degree in civil engineering and is employed at an engineering firm with offices in Denver and Las Vegas.

We are all products of heredity, environment, and choices. There is nothing we can do to change the characteristics with which we are born except to recognize them and choose the proper way to deal with them. Parents play a major role in the environment of a child.  We can do our best to influence the choices children make, but ultimately, they are accountable for their own choices.

For more than a year now, we have heard many people express the victim mentality due to the changes necessitated by the Corona virus. When children hear “victim talk”, they tend to pick up the attitude of “poor me” and feel they have an excuse for lack of accomplishment. We really need to be helping children recognize and deal with challenges. Can we help them think of hardships as challenges for learning and overcoming difficulties?  Hardships are great teachers of resourcefulness!

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Is it possible that many have the mistaken idea that to bring up children properly everything should be done to make their lives easy? It is actually the hardships and challenges that toughen us. Children who grow up smothered by adults making everything easy are like “hot house plants”. When parents aren’t around, they “wilt” in face of the challenge. 

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It is difficult, if not impossible, for parents to help children get over the victim mentality if they, themselves, have it. When children hear parents feeling sorry for themselves and complaining, they tend to pick up the same pattern of behavior.

What, then, should parents do? Overcoming obstacles creates champions. As parents work with children to face challenges, they help those children feel like heros. An attitude of “We did it!” goes a long way with children, especially when parents and children work together.  Instead of complaining, talk should be about how to cope. Ideas of children should be incorporated if possible. Overcoming problems and being a hero is much more satisfying than being a victim!

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