In today’s Cultural Dictionary there is one definition for hard; Hard is bad.
Hard is unpleasant, hard is inconvenient, hard is difficult, hard is bad. That working definition of Hard tends to shape and form the questions we ask ourselves about achieving the Good Life. If hard is always bad, then it will never really fit with anything we call good, including a Good Life. This puts a pretty big target on all things labeled or experienced as hard. We can avoid hard things, delay hard things and dismiss hard things because they are Hard and we all know, Hard is Bad. Unlike hard itself, this is extremely convenient. Today‘s Post Modern Wisdom believes pretty strongly that no person in search of a Good life should be asked or expected to embrace or endure the inherent badness of Hard.
We have not always defined hard this way. Sigmund Freud the rather famous father of Psychoanalysis has been credited and critiqued for his many observations of the Psyche the Soul and the unconscious dynamics of Human Relationships. Freud believed that two primary markers were reliable indicators of Healthy Adult Functioning.
1) The ability to delay gratification
2) The ability to work and contribute in a consistent and meaningful way
Freud’s markers for basic health were not easily attained in his days or in ours. Some would even characterize these expectations as Hard. Feel free to lie back on your couch and think about that for a minute.
We can find an even older perspective on this topic from a letter written to the Hebrews in the first century. In Chapter 12 of that letter the author writes:
No discipline seems pleasant at the moment, but painful. Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
This older wisdom and older truth suggest that not all Hard is the same. Hard is always hard, but we have to look a little closer and dig a little deeper to discern between the hard that is destructive and the hard that is productive. Bad relationships are almost always hard but not all hard relationships are bad. Bad jobs are usually hard but not all hard jobs are bad. Bad times are predictably hard but not all hard times are bad.
We are teaching our daughters every day how to live, how to love, how to learn and how to sort through the hard things that are part of this Good and Messy life called Home.
Are you teaching your daughter how to discern the Hard and Bad from the Hard and Good?
How are you doing at modeling this in your own life?
If you are a dad with a daughter, you have to get this part right. If you need some help then get it. A dad who gets help to do a better job with his family is a Hero and a Warrior, a dad who doesn’t is an Idiot and a Fool, and that is my best Hard and Good advise for all of us.
Grace and Peace
Dr. Don Worcester