Sometimes when I've told people my situation in life, the one where I would like to have a job, but I'm really a stay at home dad, I get a well-meaning response similar to this one:
"Oh, well you're such a good father! Your girls are so lucky!"
And, while this may sound good and encouraging, it's really pretty useless. There are a lot of good fathers with jobs that make enough money to support their wife and children. I don't see how being a good father must exclude me from employment.
(As a side note: I love being home with my girls. And if I were able to choose a situation I would love to be able to work from home and make enough money so that my wife wouldn't have to work. So this is not about me wanting to "get away" from my children. It is about me wanting to fulfill the dream of my wife - to stay at home with the kids. But back to the post at hand.)
It's easy to look at the bright side of things for someone else's problem.
I mean, you tell me your problem, and I (in my infinite objectivity), can see the potential or long-term good in it. I can tell you, with very little effort, actually, what lesson you are probably going to learn or what positive effects there will be.
In discussing this with my wife, she admitted that she has a bad habit of doing this. She says that it comes from a place of wanting to encourage me (or whomever) and trying to cheer me up.
I gave her a hint and I told her that it doesn't encourage me or cheer me up. In fact, sometimes it's downright irritating. Theories and philosophies on life do nothing for those who are struggling.
There's a reason the Bible says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Wisdom from Romans.
But, also, I guess there is the verse (if we are playing Bible Verse War), that says "A man's wisdom gives him patience, it is his glory to overlook an offense." Wisdom from Proverbs.
So... I suppose I should overlook this offense, realizing that it comes from "a good place."
Why I bother to write this though, is not to complain, although that may be what it seems like, but to remind you that when people have problems, it's far better to just commiserate.
You could share a beer or a cup of coffee or something. Maybe this is a man thing. Maybe it's just me. I really don't know.
I'm not saying that encouragement is bad, but at times it can come across as condescending. In the end, I need to just be content in my situation, and that is something I need to work on. Not to sound belligerent, but no one giving me "advice" can change my perspective. I must.
I think I just want to explain how I feel without someone "correcting" my feelings (whether or not my feelings are right, wrong, true, a lie, or whatever.)
In the end, I love my children. I love when our family is together and at home. I do love being with them during the week when my wife is at work. As I get older, I am beginning to learn to savor these days. They will not be with me forever. When they are gone, they will be like the passing of a loved one. When they pass, I will miss them. I will mourn them. And I will not look on the bright side of their leaving.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.