When I peruse the hundreds of pics of so many of our kids on Facebook I think, “Man, they look just like us when we were little!” As I nurture and push the second graders in my classroom every day of the week, I can’t help but think about when I was their size…and I came across my own second grade picture. My first thoughts? Wow…things seem so different now. But are they? Well, yes and no.
Sometimes, I think demands are higher; costs are up; sadly, expectations and values seem down, but hope? I think that’s about the same. I think we all hope for more; better; sooner. And I do, too (although a healthy dose of patience can never be undervalued).
I remember telling my mom with great worry about some bad days my boys had. I feared they’d be crushed for life, and I think she almost laughed. In essence she said, “Yes, they’ll be sad. And yes, it will be hard. But really Carla, you’re probably more bothered than they are.” She was right. I was devastated, and they were over it within the hour. And then came the line I remember forever: “Kids are resilient.”
When I look at the little girl in this picture, I try to remember that quality about her, and keep it with me today. Resilience. Because in this age, we need it. Our drama has trauma. And I’m shocked daily by how much hurt is still invoked and how much ignorance is rampant.
This little girl was resilient when her house burned a year later. Resilient when her family didn’t have anywhere to live. Resilient when her dad was hospitalized or institutionalized for most of her life. Resilient when her self-esteem was no where to be found, and that resilience kept her from giving up.
Full circle, getting through rough days as a little girl, helped getting through rough days as a teenager. Those helped anchor me for the many dark days that adulthood so often brings to your door. A lot of times, I questioned why these things “happened to me?” Why was life “so unfair?” Why couldn’t things have “been different?” But I don’t despise the tragedies I experienced. I grew from them. Now, I can relate to those who feel like they’re dangling from that rope of despair, and pull them up.
Surprisingly, some of those people look like me. Some of them don’t. Some of them grace my classroom every year, and even look like the little girl in this picture. So many of us have painful parts of our past that are buried deeply and deliberately underneath beautiful smiles. But let’s unearth the resilience that got us through. It’s more powerful than you know. It’s lifted entire cultures of people. Resilience has moved nations. Resilience has changed people’s ways of life. And it can help us pull others out of their most difficult places. Are you pulling someone up? #realloveheals