We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
We’re going to catch a big one,
I’m not scared
What a beautiful day!
Oh look! It’s some long, wavy grass!
Can’t go over it,
Can’t go under it,
Can’t go around it,
Got to go through it!
If you do not remember this kid’s song, refresh yourself with this rousing rendition. (I dare you to listen to the one hour version.)
If you do remember this song, and you did not do the hand motions, please return to the beginning of this post and properly sing the song to yourself.
I was reading about the unintended psychological consequences of avoidance behaviors, all the junk that happens when we do things to avoid reality. In a few recent conversations, I’ve been asked “why” regarding certain hardships and trials. This question has been answered for centuries in all sorts of ways, but I would like to present the children’s song, “Going On a Bear Hunt,” as a possible response alongside great passages like:
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus … “
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.“
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.“
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”
As I was reading all the ways we try to go “over it,” “under it” or “around it,” I just kept hearing (as I make the marching/walking sound clapping my hands back and forth in my lap) … We “got to go through it.”
I know we know this, but we forget. I forget all the time.
God, why can’t I just ___________. Why can’t we just ____________. “Got to go through it.”
And sometimes, they (insert your they) “got to go through it” too.
We had dinner a few weeks ago with friends that have adult children, and we were talking about parenting teens. I was so challenged as one couple shared what they had learned navigating those years. They shared openly and honestly about mistakes they made and ways they rescued their kids. We talked about God’s design for maturity and how culture sends conflicting messages about adulting. It was such a good conversation and one I needed for sure because to sum it up … they “got to go through it.”
Better they miss their alarm now than later.
Better they feel the consequences of poor choices now.
Better their room smell bad, with clothes all over the floor, chip bags and empty Gatorade bottles, with the toilet seat up and five million half empty cups, gym shoes that smell like rotten eggs, and fifteen random phone chargers scattered throughout the room … no? This isn’t your reality? Just me? Oh. Still … “got to go through it.”
At the end of our conversation, this mom looked at me and said, “You have trained them. You have loved them. Now, you have to let them go through it.”
So I would like to submit for your approval – in addition to the letters of Paul, James and other great teachers on the topic of struggle – the book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen, adapted from an American Folk song. There are things in life you simply can’t go over, can’t go under, can’t go around, you “got to go through it.”