Tagged: resiliance

Toughen up, boy

1953 Vintage Photo 1950s Georgia _Father And Child

My kids recently had ‘lockdown’ training at school – think of fire drills, except for other adverse events. I don’t know what they do in this training, but it seemed to upset my son a little. He hasn’t wanted to sleep near a window, has been taking a while to get to sleep and has been a bit clingy at night time.

My natural reaction to seeing my boy upset is to comfort him – I’m sure that’s a natural reaction for most parents.

I held my little boy close, gave him a cuddle, prayed with him and generally settled him. My boy, without a care in the world, in a safe home, in a warm bed, with a full tummy. His room full of toys, his draws full of clean clothes. He has electricity that turns on, running water and a pantry full of food. He has emergency services literally a phone call away. My little boy, I held him close.

It dawned on me as I held him close – I want to keep him safe, but I think there’s a bigger lesson to be learned here.

I sat him on my lap and looked deep into his brown eyes.

“Boy, inside of you is a man-in-training. When you’re learning to be a man, you’re going to have to face things that are scary, uncomfortable or frightening. Sometimes, my boy, you’re going to have to be tough, and you’re going to have to be courageous”. I settled him, put him in bed and once again reminded him that sometimes, he will need to face his fears and just be tougher than the situation he finds himself in.

It’s a hard thing, looking into your kids eyes knowing you won’t always be there to protect them, knowing they’ll have to face hardships in their life that you won’t always be able to help with. Just like Johnny Cash’s classic ‘Boy named Sue’ . I don’t want my kids to live in fear, but I want them to have the fortitude to face challenges in their life.

So I’m asking, what have you dads (and mums) done to develop a bit of toughness in your kids? I’m so aware that our kids, certainly in Australia, are probably the most pampered, protected, safe generation ever. Our kids are well fed, immunised, protected, educated – the works! How do you prepare your kids for possible eventualities? How do you gently push back and help them find strength within themselves during hard times? To give them permission to fail, to gently let go so they can start building resilience within themselves?

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Can you be selfish to help others?

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Being selfish to help others. Is there such a thing?

I was having an argument robust discussion with a friends the other night. The wife in the relationship explained how she tended to all her children’s needs before tending to her own. The husband told me that he had to look after himself before he could help others.

Have you ever met those people that do everything for everyone else and look absolutely ragged? The person that seems to help everyone except themselves? You know the type – the martyr that just looks tired and worn? Sure, they are selfless and generous and loving, but they wear everyone else down with their – their – I’m not too sure what the term is! They just seem to draw attention to themselves by being the one that ‘always helps out at great expense to themselves’.

Then there seem to be the other group of ‘pathological helpers’. These people still manage to do amazing things BUT they look after themselves first. It might be going to the gym, reading or gardening. People that seem to ascribe to the old airplane rule of ‘help yourself before you help others’. They are selfish, so they can help others. Their selfishness is often unseen – waking early for a morning gym session or stealing away at lunchtime for a quiet read. They do things to recharge their own batteries before helping others.

So what am I trying to say? There’s no point in running yourself into the ground to help others (even your own family) if it’s going to be at your expense. I know there are times when your personal resilience is going to be put to the test, when you’re going to be busy and when life just sucks. I’m convinced however that everyone has the ability to make time for themselves, to recharge their own batteries.

There’s a Pearl Jam tune called ‘All those yesterdays’. The lyrics are here:
“All Those Yesterdays”

Don’t you think you ought to rest?
Don’t you think you ought to lay your head down?
Don’t you think you want to sleep?
Don’t you think you ought to lay your head down tonight?

Don’t you think you’ve done enough?
Oh, don’t you think you’ve got enough, well maybe.
You don’t think there’s time to stop
There’s time enough for you to lay your head down, tonight, tonight

Let it wash away
All those yesterdays

What are you running from?
Taking pills to get along
Creating walls to call your own
So no one catches you drifting off and
Doing all the things that we all do

Let them wash away
All those yesterdays
All those yesterdays
All those paper plates

You’ve got time, you’ve got time to escape
There’s still time, it’s no crime to escape
It’s no crime to escape, it’s no crime to escape
There’s still time, so escape
It’s no crime, crime.
All those yesterdays

If you’re one of those people that loves helping, how do you manage your own resilience? is it boundaries? Doing your own thing? Having your own escape? Are you one of those people that just seems to have no time to themselves? How do you plan on changing that – for you?

Life’s like being on an airplane. You can’t help others until you help yourself.

Image from: http://elmo.cl/?m=200609