Before we'd gotten settled in well, the youngest in the crowd (my seven-year old nephew) injured his foot running around the pool area. He immediately began to cry, but when he noticed the skinned area bleeding, those cries became wails and his volume exponentially increased. We adults pitched in with comments meant to distract him while Mom administered first aid: "Wow! That was quite an acrobatic stunt you performed!" "You have got to be the toughest little monkey around!" "You are gonna have the neatest band-aid in town!"
His response? He made the saddest little face ever and looked up at his mom, barely eeking out in a whisper, "It hurts so bad and nobody even CARES!"
We were well-intentioned in encouraging him and trying to keep the little guy from freaking out, but he just wanted us to recognize his pain and let him cry a bit.
I wonder how many times I do this with adults who are dealing with a bit more than a scraped foot, and even with my children as they deal with the inevitable and constant change involved in our lifestyle. Sometimes folks just need me to come along beside them, offer a shoulder to cry on, and acknowledge their pain. Instead, I tell them how strong they are, give them a pat on the back, and point out how God is going to use this for His glory.
Sure, there is a place for encouragement, but my nephew's reaction reminded me that sometimes, like Job, people need me to simply be there for them, sitting beside them as they grieve and giving them permission to react to the pain.
How does this look in real life? As a mom, how do you allow for healthy grieving and adjustment?