The difference between bouncing back and plowing through
I recently reread a soundbite from Inc.com about 10 things mentally tough people do. It was titled, Want to Raise Resilient Kids? A Navy SEAL Says Always Do This.
You might have seen and thought it was insightful. The first two times I read it I thought it was okay. Mostly because the way it read was not about being mentally tough. It wasn’t about resiliency. Even though the author of the article shared the definition of Resilience, as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness,” he neglected to show that any of the 10 things mentioned would increase someone’s ability to bounce back from hard times.
More importantly while this was directed at children, I didn’t feel the ideas presented had been kid-tested. The article was more about the importance of a healthy relationship and about giving your kids an example of one. To that end, I agree.
To understand where I am coming from, I ask you to consider what the Merriam-Webster dictionary gives us as the definition of resilient:
a : capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture
b : tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
I want you to understand that before I wrote this I looked at Eric Greitens’, the Navy Seal, articles at Fatherly and Task and Purpose. Here is the thing. At no time is Eric Greitens talking about bouncing back from hard times.
If they had taken a moment to look at his book, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, they would have realized they were not sharing the intent of his message.
In his book he shares his own experience and a string of letters encouraging a friend through tough times. He talks about depression. He talks about PTSD. He talks about becoming a part of a community again.
It is a book about transforming your pain and suffering so that it becomes a kind of wisdom and courage to live your life. It is a book about understanding your identity and your responsibilities, to help you find your perspective. Perhaps even your purpose to live a quality life when crap happens.
Instead of the goal being to work your way back to your original mental form… Eric Greitens redefined resiliency to mean the ability to live your life moving forward, by giving it a better form. It is a fine line but you need to understand he is not talking about shock absorbent skills or about returning to normal. He is talking about finding a new normal by learning to adapt to your new environment.
It is the kind of book that will inspire you to rethink your personal battles. It’s the kind of book that gives you an insight into the man running for Missouri governorship. It is the kind of book you will end up buying two copies. One for yourself and one for a friend.
Turns out this book is one I can recommend but I still think the articles neglected to show how to raise resilient kids. Tomorrow I will share with you my thoughts on the 5 things Greitens’ book wants you to consider about parenting.
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