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Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Hot coals

Posted January 23

The other day, I heard a young woman vehemently complaining about getting wet in the rain. It made me smile.

Is that even a thing to be so entitled, so worthy that you should always be dry? How many times, especially in my job, have I've been soaked to the bone in a suit and high heels?

As I write this, I'm getting ready to get out of the car in the pouring rain and help my husband move furniture into his mother's house. C'est la vie.

By the time you reach a certain age, you have walked over so many hot coals that the bottoms of your feet are practically black. Life brings with it discomfort, pain, heartache, grief, obstacles, hardships, disappointment and hard times. The longer you live, the more of these things you will experience. Hopefully, along with this, you will also experience incredible joy, love, success, grace, hope and wonderment.

But the irony of this is that we can't tell our children or other young people that life is hard. They have to experience it for themselves. I often worry about how my children will face hard times in their lives given that they have had a pretty charmed upbringing. But it's not just my children I worry about, it's an entire generation.

Being a woman of a certain age, I also worry about younger women that I come in contact with in the professional world who seem yet unblemished by the difficulties of life. When they encounter minor problems or inconveniences, it is as if the world is ending.

I want to tell them that they have so many hot coals to walk over in their lifetime, and that these little bumps in the road are merely tiny sparks that have little meaning or lasting impact.

But, again, we cannot tell them. They have to experience it for themselves. I remember my younger self, wide-eyed, self-righteous, easily inconvenienced and entitled. I imagine I was probably the same way as they are. I was tender-footed, no burns yet, but also no strength like the kind you gain from weathering the heat of a crisis.

So, all we can really do when our children or other young people we encounter seem daunted by speed bumps, is to shake our heads and realize that eventually they will walk over the hot coals. We all do, and then, only then, will they know ...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here Mondays.

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