Did you know that Oprah Winfrey had an abused and neglected childhood followed by troubled adolescence peppered with drugs, teenage pregnancy, depression and even attempted suicide?
Today though, we know her as a larger-than-life figure with more success than most of us can imagine.
And yet, for every Oprah, there are thousands of kids, if not more, who didn’t make it. Oprah’s own half-sister for instance, died of reasons related to cocaine addiction.
Why is this? Why is it that some people have virtually indestructible inner strength that pulls them out of the direst circumstances while others crumble under far less complicated circumstances?
Is this inner strength something we can nurture in our kids?
Maybe our goal isn’t to raise the next Oprah, but can we make sure that no matter what life throws at them our kids will face it like champs and come out stronger for it?
I believe that small everyday experiences help in sculpting us and building that core of inner strength within us.
Inner Strength in Facing Everyday Challenges – A Simple Example
Let me share an experience about my 8 yr old daughter. It’s a rite of passagekind of challenge that all our kids face at some time or the other during their school years – you’ve probably had a similar experience too.
One day in school my daughter had a slight tiff with her friend and playmate. Her friend was apparently more upset than her about the incident. The next day, her friend gathered a few other playmates and instigated them to gang up to confront my daughter.
As my daughter would tell me later, her first instinct at being caught unaware in this way was to either cry and run away from the situation or lash back at them in hurt and anger. A typical flight or fight response to feeling betrayed and singled out.
Instead of immediately reacting though, she took a moment to respond. She pulled her tiny self all straight and calmly stood her ground. She looked her friend in the eye and apologized for unintentionally hurting her. And then as calmly as she could, she pointed out to the others that there were simply no issues between them and her.
I was so proud of this response from her. I’d like to think that all our mom-daughter talks about “being strong inside” helped.
This is not an everyday reaction from a child. Her friends weren’t expecting it. They had expected her to be scared, angry or upset.
The whole situation turned around quickly after that. Within moments they had put the whole thing behind them and were back to playing together again.
That day when she came home, she had this huge smile on her as if she had won a big battle! I couldn’t be happier.
It may seem trivial to us grown-ups, but this was a very significant experience in my daughter’s life – a ‘win’ on top of which future wins can be built. A narrative to pull out in the face of future adversities.
(To read more of this article, follow the link below…)