There was a picture I recently saw showing a real life cowboy
The Manliest of Men
His physical exterior (I would imagine) matched his mental and emotional interior
No doubt that man was a man or resilience and strength.
We want our kids to be resilient, to be tough, to be “tough enough”
We feel that our experiences made us who we are today, the trials and tribulations, so if our kids go through those same trials and tribulations, then they will build the resilience and inner strength that we want for them and that we wish (and think) we have for ourselves
But the world has changed
The mental and emotional strength that was required came, to a degree, comes from the physical demands of their lifestyles. They developed their inner strength through hard physical work
And those days are gone
The majority of society does not participate in the physical labor that was once required. However the mental toughness and the emotional inner strength that was needed to live a physically demanding lifestyle is still needed.
So how can we help our youth? How can we help build up a generation of children, who have the mental stamina and emotional inner strength to battle the harsh reality of the world?
Through kindness and acceptance.
We, the adults, must model the inner strength that we want our children to have
WE, the adults, must show the capacity that we have, to absorb the slings and arrows that the youth of today has do deal with, whether its pressures on social media, deal with anxiety and stress.
WE must show them, and model for them, that whatever they throw our way, we can take. And by accepting them, faults and all, we show them kindness
That kindness is the nourishing ground from which courage comes from
And when our students and our children find adults who model kindness, and who makes them feel accepted, that protects them from the anxiety, the fear, the depression, the constant thoughts, the emotional and mental thunderstorms that comes down on them. Whether it was self imposed or not.
Just like the cowboys of days gone past, who endured all kinds of conditions and environments, to make sure they got their jobs done. So should we, the adults, make sure that not matter what kind of storm our kids bring down upon us, we must model the inner strength to persevere and to thrive, and to rise above.
Because your kids, your students, are always watching you. And they are learning if you accept them, if you validate them, and if you have the inner strength that they are seeking for themselves.
They are looking for the hero within themselves, through your eyes… and the safe heaven to find themselves