Why Learning Lessons The Hard Way Is The Best Way

My Parents Let Me Learn Things The Hard Way And I Am Forever Grateful

Learning to be tough in a society full of criticism is so incredibly important.

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Growing up, my parents provided me with an equal amount of coddling and tough love. Whenever I was sick, my mom would intensely care for me from the moment I developed a fever until that fever finally broke. My dad stood guard as my protector whenever I found myself in dire trouble. I have been so blessed with parents who care for me and work so hard to ensure that I live a comfortable life.

Despite their love and affection, my parents never stopped me from learning certain things the hard way. When I scraped my knee learning to ride a bike, they waited until I finished crying and forced me to try again no matter how terrified I was of falling. When I failed a test, they did not coddle me and blame it on my teacher's lack of skill but instead advised me to study harder for the next one. They did not defend my failures or mistakes. And they never should have. I had made my own choices and performed my own actions willingly. My parents taught me to accept responsibility for the things that I do, whether they are good or bad.

While they let me grow accustomed to overcoming obstacles on my own, my parents also made sure that I understood that I was completely capable of personal success. My endlessly-optimistic mother would repeatedly inform me that there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. My dad loyally attended all of my sports games, even when I should not have been allowed on the field with my terrifying lack of athleticism. From their constant support and encouragement, I learned that hard times would always pass. I would only grow from them, but first I would have to work my own way out of them. My parents made sure that I knew that the mistakes I made throughout my life did not define who I was or who I could become.

One of the most important times in which I learned to be tough was when faced with the unwanted opinions of others. I come from a family where people jokingly poke fun at one another constantly. It is all lighthearted fun; never once does it turn vicious. As a child, I did not understand how beneficial this would be for my future self. My dad teasing me for loving to read did not seem explicitly valuable, but now I am able to marvel at that unusual childhood characteristic and acknowledge both how strange and how advantageous it was. I am easily able to recognize and accept my own flaws because I know that the people around me accept them wholeheartedly. I can laugh at myself, which in turn has given me a deeper appreciation for the unique attributes I possess that make me who I am today. Imperfection no longer scares me. It amuses me.

When I was in the second grade, one of my current friends told me that my family lived in a garbage dump. I knew this was a lie, and yet I still sobbed for thirty minutes after he announced it to the entire class. The opinion of this eight-year-old clearly mattered more to me at that time than the truth. It was not until middle school that I finally learned to see myself without outside opinions obstructing my view. I observed that insults were only thrown out by insecure individuals who felt the instinctual need to tear others down in order to raise themselves up. Unbeknownst to them, they were exactly the type of people who helped me grow. I came to the realization that trivial comments meant to upset me were only as true as long as I let myself believe that they were. Thus, they began to bother me less and less as my own opinion of myself began to matter to me more and more. This mantra got me through middle school and high school and continues to empower me throughout my college career.

Absolutely no one has the right to put others down, but, unfortunately, the reality is that hate and ignorance have thrived for thousands of years and will continue to exist long after we have left this earth. We can do our best to extinguish the forest fire of prejudice that seems to burn throughout the world, but another flame will just be ignited in some other aspect of life. That is why it is so important for us to learn to embrace constructive criticism and deflect needless hatred. We must learn to love one another and ourselves unflinchingly and to be prepared for those who may not.

All of the moments in my life in which I have been forced to be tough have contributed to the optimism, stability, and persistence that I attempt to retain today. Society is currently trending toward a time in which kids are watched, protected, and coddled far more than they used to be. What people fail to realize is that there is a balance between the extremes of complete nurture and total neglect. Every child should be cared for yet allowed to make their own mistakes and face their own fears. If not, the next generation will never learn to fight relentlessly for what they believe in, pursue their goals unabashedly, and persevere in the face of adversity. Where would that leave us then?

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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