There are a lot of parenting hot takes out there, but one thing most of us can agree on is that we can all agree on is that we want our kids to experience peace, comfort, and joy. We want them to feel safe and loved. This is right and good.
But our desire for their happiness often results in us shielding them from struggle, and doing so undermines what we really want for them: the opportunity to live a life full of joy but also the ability to face inevitable hardship with strength.
Jeff and I had the good fortune of ending up at one of Keith's parenting seminars last year (it wasn't exactly planned, but sometimes you are in the right place at the right time 😎) and his approach to parenting blew my little millennial mind.
So often we just want to bypass struggles, especially when it comes to our kids, but hardship is unavoidable. The better defense is being able to persevere through it.
I can't say we've mastered this by any means, but it's something I think about a lot as my kids get older.
"In the moment, "easy" feels great, and struggle is inherently uncomfortable and often upsetting to children. But the reality is that struggle is required in order for children to grow into “sturdy adults” – adults who can face life’s challenges with maturity, resilience and perseverance. If we want our children to be able to do hard things, we must allow them to struggle.
The irony is that despite all the effort we spend trying to make our children happy, what we are actually accomplishing is ensuring they are fragile and will never be able to experience true joy. When people are fragile, they shy away from difficulty and challenge in order to protect themselves. But this means they miss out on the richest experiences life has to offer. Fragile people can’t handle the rigors of relationships and life, so they can’t experience true joy. The cycle perpetuates itself through generations. Adults who did not learn to struggle well themselves will raise children who do not know how to struggle well. The impacts of this progression are felt not only by individuals and families, but society at large. Children who learn to struggle well throughout their school-age years will grow up to be the natural leaders of the next generation.
"The eventual outcome of embracing the “therapeutic” paradigm is a student body and parent community that is naturally averse to being challenged, working hard, and struggle to truly contemplate that which it True, Beautiful, and Good." - Keith McCurdy, Live Sturdy
Here is a link to his resources for those who want to learn more!
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