The need is generally pretty clear when someone is struggling. And naturally we’ll give more of our time and attention to those in need. But the unintended consequence is that this often leaves the strong ones secretly struggling with their own sense of worth and belonging.
For instance, the child who is struggling academically will tend to get more of his parents’ attention. However, his brother on the honor roll might be easily overlooked because he doesn’t need any extra help to get his work done.
On the one hand, this makes perfect sense. The brother who is struggling simply needs more help. And, of course, we’ll give the food that’s needed to those who are hungry rather than to those who are not.
But our challenge is not to become one-dimensional in our thinking and care. While the honor roll student might not need help academically, this doesn’t mean he still doesn’t need support and encouragement in his own way.
This might be still affirming his hard work even though he makes it look easy on the outside, engaging the deeper meaning and purpose of his efforts beyond his grade reports, or simply seeing and validating his worth outside academics altogether. Whatever it looks like, it’s not neglecting the care of his soul just because he doesn’t need help academically per se.
And this is true for all those who appear otherwise strong. Their strength does not negate their need to still be seen and cared for in meaningful ways. Loneliness and contempt likely develop when they consistently feel overlooked and taken for granted.
In the end, continue to help all those in clear need of your time and attention. But don’t neglect supporting the strong ones as well. They still need to know their deep value and worth even when it seems they have it all together otherwise.