Ever think about how much we discount our kid’s feelings?

I mean, they’re kids, right? They don’t have the depth of knowledge or the experience we have, so of course, their feelings are less valid.

But are they?

It goes the other way, as well. Since they don’t have that heartbreak, that disappointment, that feeling that no one cares anyhow already baked into their life, is their disappointment, their heartbreak, cleaner and more valid than our own?

Consider the heartbroken sobs of a small child whose ice cream has fallen in the dirt.

Or a twelve year old who has just broken up with his lifelong love. And we sit there and while we commiserate, we can’t really help but think how shallow their feelings are, because they’re kids.

But the reality might be that they’re in far more pain than we would be. We have calluses over our heart. We’ve suffered breaks and breakups that have toughened us up. 

I’m on my third marriage. I went into it fully committed, but also, it took years to get to the point of really trusting that my heart won’t be broken. That we won’t be compatible. That something will happen and all that love will slowly subside and become less, or even moving over toward its opposite.

The love that I have now, after more than twenty years, is pretty much fully vested. But it took time to get to that point. The love that a 12 year old has for their best friend took almost no time to arrive. There was no real worry about the possibility that you’d get your heart broken.

I guess that’s why the friendships we formed in junior high, or high school, truly stand the test of time. They were formed in true faith and hope and love – unsullied by the slings and arrows of life. We didn’t have to overcome, to drill through, to soften up that heart. It was already soft and willing to love.

Let’s try to respect that – the love of a child.