Sitting with them through the Pain

I wrote this post awhile ago, but I haven’t shared it for some reason. As I was rereading it today, I thought someone might need to hear it. Thankfully, I haven’t been changing as many sheets recently, but the main idea behind this post is still something that I need to remind myself of.


On Saturday, my son woke up from his nap, ninja turtle sheets and shorts soaked with pee. Shortly after I dried him off, we were sitting at the counter discussing our afternoon plans. My husband told Paxton that we wouldn’t have time to go on a family outing that afternoon. Without any warning, my son broke down, I mean totally broke down. I haven’t heard him sob that loudly since he was little. The thing is, I don’t think he was crying because he couldn’t go to the beach. Unfortunately, the he has had several accidents during nap time at school recently, and I know he has been trying to play it cool, like it doesn’t bother him, but I know it does. He spent all of last week waking up embarrassed to be wet in front of his friends–I know this because his best friend mentioned it to me repeatedly. So, on Saturday, when he woke up wet again at home, he lost it. His sobs and screams pained my eardrums as I held him.

When he first started crying, I weakly started to ask “do you want to watch a video to help you calm down?” And then, I stopped myself. A mentor at church has been emphasizing the power of “sitting with our kids in their pain” instead of trying to distract them or take their pain away all the time. Apparently, this practice helps kids to become more resilient; it helps them learn how to calm themselves. Sitting with my son in his sadness was difficult for my heart and for my ears, but I tried to focus on how good it felt to hug him, and I tried to send him the message that he can let it all out at home. As much as I would love to, I can’t help his body to stop peeing while asleep, but I can hold him and help him feel supported as he deals with the difficulties of life.

I felt compelled to share this story to remind myself and others what true service can look like. We don’t always have to visit a homeless shelter to serve. Sometimes we just have to sit with others in their pain, to empathize, to hug, to hold.

I look forward to the day that I’m not washing sheets so frequently, but until then, I will try to love him with compassion and empathy. As Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”


I love my son, and, often I try to distract him from his struggles or remove them if possible. Do you have any strategies that help you sit with your kids or others through their pain? If so, please share, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.


About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

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