he most beautiful thing you will see in a child is a positive attitude when they are outside of their used to comfort. The worst thing you could see in an adult though is the attitude of a cry baby, running away from responsibilities and retreating at any sniff of a setback. The world today need strong, daring, mature people. This is the thing: Either we make ourselves so, or the world in its unique way forces us to be resilient.
Childhood is the perfect place to inculcate the wonderful attitude of resilience. You know, I always had a definition for success that goes something like this:
“Success is the continuous mastery of challenges”
The rationale behind that statement has always been that once you set a goal and hit it, you only realize that is not the end of life and so you need to set another and go for it. In between, there would be very many different challenges to face and overcome. So what we need tell our children is that the overcoming of the challenges is what make them better people and great souls. In the process, we encourage them to be resilient. Instead of circumventing challenges, they have this aura of a dare and easily embrace the challenges.
In the previous post, we saw three ways we can build the resilience of our children. We continue with these thoughts here:
You can do two things here. First if you are “well to do” and your children are leading a relatively comfortable life, it is important to expose them to the hardships that either you faced or what other people are facing. For example, as a child, I used to fetch water from a well daily. It was one of those thankless jobs I had a a child. My kids have water running out of the taps. It would be great if I took them to the source of the well I used to fetch water from and tell them how it was for us. Now here is the catch: As I take them through that tour, I should be careful to insist that the experience shaped me. If I use the experience as a bad thing like I just did when I called it “thankless”, the message of resilience will be lost.
Secondly, it would be important to give my children assignments for “work” that is considered strenuous. A story is told of a wealthy man who trained his child by getting him a job as a newspaper vendor. The rationale was that if the child can appreciate the value of a single cent, then he can appreciate the millions for which his dad is worth. More importantly, later on he will appreciate the value of resilience that his dad built in him. Let us be aware that “discipline doesn’t seem a fun thing at the time it is being issued, but later on it is appreciated as it yields fruit”
[ictt-tweet-inline]When we raise kids who think that work is punishment from God, we are stiffing their resilience, the very thing that they need for greatness in life.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
This seems so simple and uncanny. However, physical exercises are the quickest way of getting the mind to appreciate resilience. In our nature as humans, we always aspire for growth. The very nature of physical exercises forces us to push ourselves and be patient with ourselves, only to see the results much later. If you can have an exercise regimen with your kids and track things such as distance, time taken, number of sit-ups, push-ups and so on, it is the perfect opportunity to build their resilience as well as to bond with them. I am so excited about this.
Whenever setbacks hit you as a family, watch your attitude, your devotion, your language and the hope that you are building or hanging on. Resilience can also be caught when a child sees how you handle a setback. They literally “listen and learn”.
The bigger part though is to teach a child to be there for those who are ‘going through’, to learn to put themselves in the shoes of those going through. Somehow, if you know that someone is banking on your for emotional support, you tend to build resilience of your own. Now, being strong does not mean trying to be a little messiah. It doesn’t mean that the burden of solving the problem is on you. What it means though is that empathy and compassion, understanding and emotional support are make available.
Ethan loves reading for me. At times he comes across a difficult word that he cannot pronounce. I encourage him to try and when he makes a mistake, that is when I correct him. That way, I am teaching him some form of resilience. Doing everything for children is unwise. Allowing them to struggle with something a while is not being mean. Not only should we not do everything for them, we should also encourage them to take initiative and do things for themselves.
I believe that if we trained our children for resilience, we are also in turn training and preparing them for greatness.