Entry No. 10 – Molding a more Courageous Future
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy, forget in time that men have died to win them” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The debriefing starts now…
First thing’s first, I hope you had a blessed Memorial Day. Let us never forget our fallen heroes, and every day civilians, who continue to stand for our freedoms. To our Marines, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Firefighters and even Teachers…I thank you for your service.
Top Flight family, I hope you’ve all been well. After being called out for the fifth time regarding my AWOL blogging status, I knew it was time to get back to writing (and sharing). Thanks, Joker.
So. A few weeks ago, I was having a chat with a great friend of mine who told me about taking his kids outdoors for a walk. Halfway into the trek, they came upon a ditch. He leapt over it casually, and this of course fascinated his kids, whom don’t regularly engage in such activity. It’s no secret, after all, that our youth are being raised in an era of continuous digital stimulation, and around-the-clock air conditioning. It made him realize that, though simple pleasures like jumping ditches, climbing trees and scaling steep surfaces came naturally to him, it came naturally because these activities were commonly practiced. He realized that is was up to him, as both a father and an influence, to encourage the basics.
This leads me into the topic of the day. Molding a more courageous, active, and engaged youth.
As parents, it’s natural to want to provide the most comfortable lifestyle, filled with as little suffrage as possible. But as parents, we understand the importance of preparing them for the inevitable setbacks of life. How can we prepare them for success in our modern competitive society, on an emotional, psychological and physical level? We build up self-reliability.
Let them do it.
I know…it takes little Johnny 10 minutes to tie his shoes, because he wants to get the loop just right. You could have done it in 10 seconds, and been off to the store, but that’s not the point. Allow your child(ren) to accomplish small tasks on their own, building a continuous foundation of daily accomplishments. Even if what you’re asking them to do could be finished in a fraction of the time, a child needs to adopt the mindset that if they don’t complete the task, it’s just not going to get done.
Making the bed sucks. Do it anyway.
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another” words famously spoken by retired Navy SEAL and ultra marathon, ultra athlete, David Goggins. The symbolism of making your bed every day is simple. It’s monotonous and unexciting; but by pushing through the monotonous with vigor, a child builds mental grit to master small tasks, and more capably overcome larger, and undesirable, tasks in the future.
Let them take risk.
Does this mean throw them into the deep end of the pool without a life jacket? Absolutely not! But you should let them take “calculated risks”. Let him climb that tree. Let her try the motocross bike. Let them climb rocks, feel the burn of a hot candle and earn a few scrape-badges of honor. There is an understandable level of protectiveness you should have, as a parent, but nothing good comes from over-coddling. I watched an interesting TED Talk by Gever Tulley regarding this very topic. His 9-minute dialogue entitled “5 dangerous things you should let your kids do” was a great listen. Check it out here.
Show them your imperfect Struggle.
When kids see their parents overcoming obstacles, whether it’s that landscaping project you embarked on last summer, or your weekend workout in the garage, they feel a sense of relatability. And this is a great thing. Many times, our greatest struggles create the best example of courage. And don’t be afraid to share your struggles with them…within reason of course. Tell them about how hard it is to overcome >insert problem< and reinforce the positive manner with which you’re handling it. This plants seeds of resolve and grit within a child, and they will most likely recall this conversation when they encounter their own obstacle in the near future.
It is a tragedy, both to you and your child(ren) to portray life as a smooth sailing ship. Children need to understand discomfort, aches, pains and failure. Just as they should enjoy love, bonding, rewards, new experiences and celebrations. I have seen many parents choose the path of least resistance and it backfired horrendously, both in childhood and adolescence. And this choice is entirely yours to make.
That’s my five minutes for the day.
With love, and GAINS.
P.s. Today’s Random Nugget: The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. Initially established as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence.