One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried terribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off again and take another a step up.
Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up.
This is such an important lesson to teach our teens. The teen years are some of the hardest and filled with challenges and new experiences. Teaching them to step up when they feel like they were pushed down is vital to building a self reliant and confident teen.
Protecting them from these potential pitfalls only shields them from these experiences and they will not be prepared to handle them well when they happen to them later in life. It is hard to watch them fall but is liberating and empowering for you and them, to watch them fall, get up and try again until they figure it out.
Encourage them to take risks, teach them to be persistent in their goals and when they fall, help them up, hug them and tell them you love them. Help them see the lesson in that situation so when they step up, they can see success is always possible. It just takes a little longer sometimes and a few piles of dirt thrown on them to get there.