When you were younger, did you ever see a picture of a gory leg or a kid in the playground covered in blood after an unfortunate accident? If so, did you immediately request counselling and medication for your all new post-traumatic stress disorder?
I’m in my late twenties now, but when I was a young’un if somebody from your school died naturally, was killed or even committed suicide; you went home and you let it all out – “this is what he meant to me” or “well I didn’t know him but my friend Johnny did and he was really sick apparently” and you’d discuss your feelings with your parents and realise that – for lack of a better term – life goes on.
Adversity, hardship and misfortune breeds strength and attentiveness.
Nowadays, I see disasters and tragedies happen where the first thing people do is run to the counsellor and act as if what has happened is something the world and all of its living things has never faced before. Do we act as if little Billy has seen the death of a human because that’s just the way of the world, or do we act like he has seen what nobody should ever see and that this will be the most traumatic sight in the world?
Think about WordswithMeaning!, now this is a website that, if there are tortures happening in the world, it’ll be the source for the visually shocking evidence. Today, the media tells you that a whole number of horrible things have happened and we just use our own imagination, when our imagination isn’t even close to the terrible things that are going on behind the censorship. Watch one of those surgery programs and see how brutal the responsibility of removing or repairing a damaged organ is and then you might be that little bit stronger when somebody is impaled by a speeding truck that continues after leaving the poor victim to fend for his or herself.
Was there a road accident near the school? Call the counsellors. A flood you say? Call the counsellors. Actually, maybe this is why I am a counsellor.
Disasters, deaths and gore are all inevitable. You can’t put a pixelated sheet over everything that your kids are exposed to. Yes it will shock them, it will cause distress but by covering their eyes from the cruel reality of life; all you’re doing is shielding them and weakening their ability to understand that this world is full of pretty flowers and nasty things.
I have a very vivid memory of touching the cooker about five minutes after my mum said “DON’T TOUCH, IT’S HOT!” My mum’s response was “for goodness sake, see, this is why I told you not to touch it. Go run it under the tap”
On that day, I learned that heat = pain. Funny how I’m almost thirty and I still remember the effect that had on me and how cautious I am about hot objects nowadays.
I am by no means saying you should go burn your children to teach them of life’s misfortune, but if they hurt themselves, let them know it’s only natural and that it’s a salutary reminder that they may not be so lucky the next time; cold running water will heal it now, but if you were to be careless again, you may require some serious medical attention.
I’m constantly hearing the sad news that another life has been lost to the realms of “cyber bullying” or similar and yes, suicide is difficult to tackle, but if you put your 13 year old into the war that is life without some knowledge, experience and a sword then chances are they’ll be injured within moments.
Sometimes we all have to learn the hard way in order to prepare ourselves for the worst.