Recently I was with a friend and her grandchildren for lunch at an open-air market, followed by a visit to a museum. The girls knew they were going to get a souvenir of our adventure together.

At the market, 8-year-old Sasha wanted a package of stars that glow in the dark. Her grandmother reminded her that she could get one souvenir, and that the museum had a great gift shop. Sasha insisted on getting the stars.

Of course, later at the museum store I walked with Sasha who began choosing from the array of wonderful items to buy, disappointed that she already had her souvenir. “That’s difficult,” I said, “what would have helped you make a better choice?” And we chatted about what she plans to do next time.

The right kind of trouble teaches how to handle frustration when the world doesn’t go your way.

Trouble helps children develop endurance. Endurance develops strength of character. Character strengthens our confident hope and this hope will not lead to disappointment. So it is exactly these teachable moments in which we want to be fully present with children.

Remain mindful—so that we stay connected. Be clear–so that we are spiritual navigators, teaching and modeling right speech, good intention, right action.

Notice and label when you are having trouble.

Brooke Brogle shares her experience:

She said to her young children: “I am having trouble! I have tried three times to fix the vacuum and it is just not working! I am going to take a break. I will come back and try when I am feeling calmer.”

Guide young children through their frustrations.

“You seem so frustrated! I see that you have been trying to build that tower and it keeps falling down! Let’s have a snack and then try again together.”

At 19, a young woman completing her high school education had these wise words.

“I am thankful for every bad choice I ever made and every person put in my path to give me a hard time. I made many mistakes, but those same mistakes have made the person I am today. Life isn’t easy but it is worth fighting for.”

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