More adversity please
Adversity is the necessary ingredient for resilience. The Great Depression led immediately to the Greatest Generation. We often hear talk about the World War II generation as being the Greatest Generation in our history. Part of that formative experience was going through the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a necessary ingredient to create the people who could win the Second World War. When the Army recruiter said “Son, I’d like you to sign up and go fight the enemy” and the kid said, “Well what do I have to do?”“Well once you sign up we are going to put you on a train with about a hundred other guys and you are going to ride for three days to go to training camp.” Here’s the kid’s question:
How do you prepare and practice for adversity? You’re not going to like this. It’s more adversity. Most of us want to protect ourselves from more adversity. We want our life to be easy.
I once worked with a gentleman who was the owner of a holding company. He had a bunch of different businesses. He told me, “You know, Doc, I grew up on the mean streets of LA and I played basketball. I was a white guy in a predominantly black area. If I wanted to court, I had to fight for it. I had to win that court every day and it was tough. That’s what has made me successful. I get up every morning and fight for it. I’m not like one of those ‘silver spooners’. Nobody gave me anything. I had to fight for what I got and now that’s why I’m successful.”
I said, “That’s great. Tell me about your family.” He said, “I’ve got a four-year-old. He’s so great. I love him. Last weekend I threw a birthday party for him and invited the entire neighborhood. I hired the fire department and they came out and did this ladder thing and shot the fire hoses and made the water arc over the house. It was really cool. We got one of those big bouncy houses and a water slide out in the backyard. We had about 100 kids there. It was great.” I looked at him and I asked, “Do you want your son to be successful?” He goes, “Absolutely.”
Everything you said that made you successful, you’re keeping from your son.
That’s when I said, “You are ruining your son. Everything you’re doing is setting your son up for destruction. You are going to ruin your son because everything you said that made you successful, you’re keeping from your son.”
That was our last appointment. I tend to get fired when I say things like that.
If any of you watch the inter-generational transfer of wealth with wealthy families, you might see this. There’s the first generation that has had to struggle to succeed. Second generation goes completely “ape” because they’ve never had to work for the money.
Here’s the point. If you want to be successful, you will have to go through hardship. Each of us, if you’re a parent, wants to prevent your kids from experiencing adversity. But by preventing your kids from having adversity, you are inviting destruction for them. Have you ever met a trust-fund baby? What do they grow up to be? They grow up to be 35 years old, playing Xbox in their parents’ basement, & smoking really good weed. If that’s the kind of kid you want, give your kid everything they want.
PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY