Sunday, March 13, 2016

When You Give Your Child The Gift Of Peace

Things have really turned upside down when well meaning parents concern and compassion ends up creating children who grow up to suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, and poor self esteem.

Perhaps the two greatest gifts that parents can give children is to teach them to ignore personal comfort and to get on the stage and get the job done. The obsession with personal comfort--(e.g. "you need a coat on," "stay inside it is too cold/hot/wet out there", "where are your gloves? It is freezing out there") causes kids to chase an illusion that can rarely be caught.

Life often is not comfortable. The pursuit of comfort causes paralyzing frustration.

On the other hand, a child that is oblivious to the minor discomforts inherent in living an active life will actually live that life--instead of watching it pass by.

I am not a great athlete. I have never been a great rider. I have certainly fallen from horses hundreds of times.

But for the life of me I can only recall less than ten such falls. That is not from amnesia. That is because from the time I began riding at age two I was taught that falling off was such a nothing event that it was not worth remembering. One would fall, check for blood, and remount. Falling was of no more moment than putting on a shirt or drinking ice tea.

There are exceptions. I remember the times that resulted in hospitalizations or required other medical interventions, but I do not recall the result of the simple application of gravity to movement inherent in most falls.

That is not because I am tough. That is not because of any macho world view. That is because I was raised to ignore personal comfort. Even now, every time someone asks me if I think that the room we are in is too hot or too cold I am till taken aback. The truthful answer in all but the most extreme cases is that I have not noticed. In fact, it has not occurred to me to spend a moment being uncomfortable.

Most of the credit for being able to simply take things as they are goes to my mother. Unlike today's kids who are so often begged to reveal just exactly what it is they want to eat and how they want it prepared and where they want to sit at the table and what they want to drink with their meal, I faced no such inquiries.

When I was a preschooler and would complain about something Momma had cooked she would simply tell me to shut up and get used to it because when I got big and went to Viet Nam the food would really taste bad. That approach has made my adult life so much easier compared to those around me who were raise to expect life to conform to their wishes.

 To be taught to conquer the stage is nearly as important for a child's confidence as it is to be taught to ignore personal comfort. The earlier a child learns to be comfortable on stage the better. Stage presence is an aspect of leadership that is rarely taught today. Stage presence allows a child to become an effective communicator. Stage presence teaches a child to listen closely to the audience. Most importantly, stage presence allows a child to feel that he is worth listening to. Stage presence causes a child to feel that he deserves to be listened to.

And it teaches him to say things worth hearing.

(This is a picture of my granddaughter  at age two playing the spoons and performing with a group of my riders at Bethany Church.)

1 comment:

George W said...

Exactly. It is now about 20 hours after tue worst fall I have taken in a long time...I am beat up and sore, and If I did not have a day's work to do today, I would he right back on that little stud horse. The responsibilty I have to make him the best that I can dictates thusly.
Playing hurt....fighting through pain amd discomfort is not and should not be the defining ingredient of our character...that should be kindness and love, compassion and understanding. But toughness amd grit should be the salt an garlic in that recipe.