If there is one thing I hope to leave with my children it is this: You can do hard things. This isn’t a muster through it and survive mentality, rather the I can be successful and become a better person by doing hard things and doing them well mentality.
I talk about this here on our travel blog because I find this sentiment pertinent to traveling. There are so many great and fun things about traveling. Seeing the world, meeting new friends and exploring history and culture are a few of them. On the other hand, there are many hard things about traveling. New food, a foreign language, lower level of comfort and even the toilet situation in many places can feel really hard.
Looking down the steep switchbacks
On one trip we hiked up to Gimmelwald, Switzerland with a small group. One of the girls confided that she didn’t think she could complete the steep hike and that she was scared. Putting one foot in front of the other she gradually worked her way up the steep switchbacks. As she made it to our hostel she was visibly relieved and so happy to be there. She later confided that it was a defining moment in her life. She realized that she could do hard things. She could do things she never thought she could do.
That’s a lot of power and wisdom learned from one difficult experience. Although hard things aren’t always things we look forward to, they can be great learning tools and help us know ourselves better.
Those struggling to be happy with who they are, not caring what others think and who feel self-conscious could use a good dose of doing hard things. There is a certain amount of character, of self-esteem and of personal pride that comes from accomplishing tasks thought to be too hard to do. No one can take away an accomplishment, a feeling of victory or thoughts of positive self-esteem. This is what I want to arm my kids with.
Today’s world can be loving and accepting and at other times hard and cruel. Preparing my kids for the hard and cruel is on the top of my list. Give them experiences that shape them and strengthen them and the world can’t take that from them.