- those that we're supposed to do something about, and
- those that give us information
The second category sneaks up on you. In the earlier years of parenting most of us didn't even know it existed. It consists of the stuff that we initially see as behavior problems and finally realize is something else. It's the amorphous stuff that causes suffering, the stuff we look at and think (or pray) in confusion, "Show me what's going on here."
And then something happens (usually something we normally think of as bad) and our eyes open and we realize, Oh -- this is the answer to my prayer. This is the heart-issue, the character flaw, the tendency that my child will eventually have to deal with himself. This is what I need to know in order to be a better parent.
It's suddenly clear that this isn't a Mom-will-solve-it issue or a matter of bandaids or finding good resources or doing things 'right'. It's not about whether we've set our family rules clearly enough or imposed strict enough consequences. It's about the deeper soul issues in our children, the things that will make it harder for them to grow up to be peace-filled or thankful or generous of heart or forgiving or humble when they make mistakes or firm in the face of conflict.
It's good to know those things. Not easy, but good.