Your little problems?...Pshaw...That's nothing!

           At the mall I overheard the conversation of a group of teenaged girls. They were bemoaning their entire lives because they could not spend the summer as mall rats due to working part time jobs to pay for their cell phones, clothes, hair salon visits...

     <Insert GIGANTIC eyeroll>

     My first thought was, "Oh for the love! If only I had just your tiny problems. Life would be soooooooo easy. Infants. They do not even know what REAL problems are."

     Then I thought back to when I was the same age as the girls I was shaking my head over. Those little problems I am laughing about now felt huge then. 

     Finals, working part-time as a waitress at Pizza Hut, earning enough to pay for "necessities", boys, catty girls, getting the right extra curriculars on my highschool resume...they all seem like ridiculously insignificant things to worry about now. But at one time they were what made up my world. And you know what? Dealing with those small things prepared me for dealing with the big things in life. 
     No one is born with the full understanding and maturity to handle everything that life can throw at us. Hopefully we grow into it. The little problems feel huge but we deal. We figure them out. We learn what we're made of. Then the more significant things hit us. We've done it before so we deal.

     Instead of belittling the impact that the little issues have, I am going to try to remember that they had their place. They were growing experiences. They had a purpose in my existance.

     They were first world problems, absolutely. Others in this world have to face much, much, much tougher things, certainly. Those who have things harder give us perspective but we still struggle with our own struggles. 

      You can't compare apples and oranges. Your experiences to someone else's. What I struggle with may be nothing to another. And what another struggles with may be tiny to me. But that doesn't diminish the difficulty of the battle to the one going through it. 

      I needed this revelation to be a better mother to my children. If I attempt to diminish the small hardships that my kids are facing now, they won't come to me with the big things later. They won't learn compassion, empathy, or that they have real feelings that should be acknowledged and shared and worked out. 

     I might have a few eyerolls left in me. Actually, I guarantee that I have eyerolls tucked away. Esecially when I hear mall girls saying things like, "It's just like such an injustice that I don't have enough money left for a Frappucino." But I am going to make a conscious effort to stop trivializing the exeriences of others. 

     Compassion! It makes us better humans.