One of the hardest parts about parenting is realizing that you cannot always protect your children from being hurt. As parents, we have to step back and send our kids out into the world, knowing that they will inevitably encounter cruelty, rejection, and disappointment. It’s a tough reality to accept, but if there is one thing that my journey into philosophy, spirituality and Quantum Physics has taught me, it is that in order to truly become powerful and stay in a state of home frequency, it is crucial to live life with a heart of surrender—a willingness to accept pain and disappointment, even as it relates to our children.
I know this may sound impossible, and almost like bad parenting. What kind of parent simply ‘accepts’ that their little ones (or big ones) are going to get hurt by the world? Shouldn’t we be out there fighting every day to ensure that doesn’t happen?
Well, no. In fact, new research from thought leaders like Brene Brown have shown one of the most valuable things we can teach our children is “grit”—the ability to accept rejection and heartache without letting it define us, the ability to dust ourselves off after a fall and continue to pursue our goals with dogged ambition. Grit is not necessarily what separates the winners from the losers (although grit is often a quality that most successful people have in spades), but grit gives us passion, fire, and power. It gives us “the love of the game” that not only makes our performance better, but also makes our LIVES better. Our energy is coming from a place of love and whole-heartedness (‘I love this sport and I am honored to get to play every day’) rather than a place of self-hatred (‘I am never going to be as good as the other guy’).
So how can we teach grit to our kids and help them to overcome negative messages, both from external and internal forces?
The answer is that we have to teach them that it is okay to be in pain sometimes. It is okay to fail. It is okay to ‘look stupid.’ From an early age, kids start to pick up on the idea that making mistakes is shameful. Whether it is tripping in the hallway or messing up a math problem, even our little kids can become veritable lighthouses of shame. This shame prevents them taking risks and putting themselves out there, but more importantly, it prevents them from living their life in a place of home frequency—which is a natural state where I think all of us belong, especially children! But how can a kid exist in a state of unconditional love and acceptance if all they can focus on is how they failed a test or got picked last in gym class?
We must start teaching kids the value of surrender and vulnerability from an early age. We can do this by modeling these values in our own lives. You can’t teach your kids to have grit, if you are living in a prison of fear and shame yourself. Much like the universe, if your energy doesn’t match your intention and your affirmations, you aren’t going to fool your kids. If they see you afraid to wear a bathing suit or timid to stand up to the co-worker who’s giving you a hard time, they are going to mimic those behaviors. But, if they see you get up again after being knocked down emotionally, they are going to learn that failure is nothing to fear. They will learn to surrender to life’s tides and accept the bad with the good. They will learn to stand up for what they think is right, even when they are scared, because they will value their beliefs over other people’s opinions.
So, yes, letting your kids go out into a world that can be cruel and scary is overwhelming. But there is one thing that is even more overwhelming than that—and that is the pride and amazement you will feel when your children go out into that world, face it head on, and make it a better place. They can’t do that if we demand the world treat them with kid gloves, or if we make them frightened to take chances or be their whole, open, vulnerable selves. Because here is the thing—vulnerable people get hurt, but vulnerable people are also the ones who hold the keys to fixing life’s hurts. Let’s trust our kids and the Universe enough to let that magic happen.