From time to time you’ll pick up a nugget of truth that forever will revolutionize how you think about every situation. Something that on the outside seems very simple, but the more you contemplate its meaning the deeper it becomes. My latest nugget was “A baby cries because even the slightest discomfort is literally the most intense pain it has felt its entire life”.
On the outside this seems like a no brainer. The baby is only 2 weeks old. It hasn’t lived through much yet. Only after a few days I started really applying this concept to life as a whole.
Want to know why the person at work complains so much? It’s because they’ve never experienced true displeasure. Want to know why that person breaks down in tears when confronted about something? It’s because they’ve never felt real emotional pain. People can only react to the level in which they’ve been tested. The old saying a sword is only a sword after it’s been in the fire and beaten by the makers maul is the honest truth. The more real life we experience and the more we try our emotional reactions the better we can cope with stress, loss, and pain. This is why the military trains soldiers under very harsh and trying conditions. To adjust their minds to working in subprime environments.
It was after this revolution I decided to no longer shelter my kids from life. All too often I witness parents sheltering their kids from pain or grief. Little things like giving in when they’re throwing a tantrum at the store for candy to small lies like the goldfish swam away instead of letting them feel grief on a small-scale.
Sheltering our children from the pain of life seems like a loving thing to do, but what happens when they’re on their own? Without you? Without anyone? What happens when they get their first car, lock themselves out, and have to walk in the rain back home for a spare set? Are they going to be able to cope with being wet, cold, and having to walk a few miles, or are they going to break down into a sobbing pile of pity and wait for someone to come rescue them?
I stopped coddling my kids. It was a hard decision to make. When they break a toy, lose a game, or stub their toe I make sure they know I love them, and if the situation requires real aid and assistance that I will be the first to be there. I don’t coddle them and make it all better though. Protect them, but let them fall. The next time a similar situation occurs they will have developed the skill set required to handle everything life throws at them.
This seems cold and harsh, but it’s necessary. I love my children unconditionally and work very hard to give them everything they need. Money wont buy everything though. Teaching them how to navigate life with confidence is key.
I employ you to do the same. Just realize it will be harder on you than on them.
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