I can remember having terrible pains in my legs when I was 10 years old. These pains would come mostly at night as I lay in bed, forcing me to review my day for some clue as to why they hurt so much. I would connect the pain to a game of basketball, dropping from a tree limb, or too much walking. (I have never been accused of thinking too little about things.)
Then one day my mom told me about growing pains. The actual medical term is “non-specific limb pains of childhood,” and from what I’ve read there is no evidence that growing causes the pain, but it is a fact that at least 20 percent of kids between the ages of 2 and 12 complain of such discomfort in their legs. In any case, my mom’s non-expert diagnosis explained it well enough for me.
I didn’t do anything to cause the pain – it was an unavoidable part of maturing into manhood. I could do things to comfort and assuage the pain, but I could do nothing to stop it from happening, except be patient.
We’ve been experiencing a lot of growing pain at Whetstone Boys Ranch lately. For starters, we now have five boys in residence, having added three in one month span. If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you know that before this recent influx, we have averaged one new boy every three months! It doesn’t take much imagination to envision the logistical challenges that have arisen almost overnight.
Our boys are also experiencing rather severe growing pains. Most of them are not accustomed to the rigors of good diet, exercise, sleep and study. They kick against the goads. We try to convince them patiently, with love and consistency, that resistance is futile and that discomfort is a natural part of the growing process; but they frequently insist on making things harder than they need to be.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes it feels like we’re living in a bad 80’s sitcom. There is melodrama, and bad acting, and dialogue to make you groan.
The good thing is that growing pains go away…eventually. And like bad 80’s sitcoms, there is usually a happy ending. Please pray that we will all be stronger as a result of these most recent challenges, which if looked at in the right way, are really opportunities. After all, pain is just weakness leaving the body.