Gaining Wisdom and Resilience

By Jim Fay

Phil, a recent business school graduate, got his dream job. He did so well that he was invited to a retreat with the big shots of the company. Not only did he get to attend, but he also had a chance to rub elbows with the top man, the CEO of the company.

Almost jittery, he approached his idol, “Sir, I was told that I could ask you a question, and what I want to ask is what does it take to become as successful as you are?”
“Well, young man. Success like mine takes a whole series of good decisions.”
“Oh, sir, I’m sure that’s true, but what does it take to make those good decisions?”
“Well, here’s the hard part, son,” the older man responded with pride. “It takes wisdom.”
“Oh, thank you, sir. But that creates a burning question for me. How do you acquire such wisdom?”
“Bad decisions, son. It takes a whole lot of bad decisions. Wisdom comes from learning from your mistakes.”

In 1977 I first started writing about Helicopter Parents. These parents carried the heavy burden of swooping in to rescue their kids from any mistake, disappointment, or struggle. Out of love they were crippling their children by stealing away their opportunities to gain wisdom and resilience.

What I am seeing now is a much worse. This problem has almost reached epidemic proportions with parents trying to create a perfect life for their kids. Little do they know that their children won’t be able to maintain that great life if they have not prepared for it by having to deal with their own little problems early in life.

The authors of Love and Logic meet many parents who are afraid for their kids to make those poor decisions needed to gain wisdom. I hope you are not one of those parents. But if you are, this gentle reminder comes from my heart. Bruised knees and bruised emotions are the building blocks of wisdom and personal strength. Don’t steal that from the kids you love so much.

Listen to my most popular audio CD, Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants, for some laughs and solutions to this tempting parenting style.

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