Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. ~African Proverb

Adversity: distress; affliction; hardship; an unfortunate event or incident

At some point in time, we all have to deal with adversity. The question is, how do we deal with it? As a bibliophile, I believe that any answer can be found in a book somewhere. There are non-fiction works of all sorts dealing with just about every known form of adversity under the sun. There are also fiction works that show-case characters who have to deal with some of the same hardships found in life. The trick is in adapting the literature to our own lives.

When my children have to deal with adversity (whether in their own lives, the lives of people they know and love, or just watching the evening news) I have a tendency to find a book about such issues. Immigration, learning disabilities, poverty, discrimination, and death have all been topics I've searched for and found books covering. The conversations we have about these issues differ once they've experienced these situations through another set of eyes. If you have never experienced the sickness of a loved one; where do you begin? If you have never had to deal with discrimination, how do you cope with it when it occurs around you? If you have never read about poverty, what words will you use to comfort a friend who is faced with it?

I firmly believe that it is a disservice to our children to "protect" them from all the bad things out there. I know, everyone wants their children to be safe, but it just isn't possible to protect them from all the hurts that are out there in the world. I believe that it's better for them to learn how to deal with adversity at an early age than to shock them once they've "left the nest". I'd rather my children never got hurt, but that just isn't possible.

A person who has overcome adversity is a person who has empathy for others. I would like my children to embody that. I strive to embody that. To that end, I read. I read about all kinds of things. I read to understand. I read to get clues on how to deal with situations that are difficult. I read to learn how it feels to be on the other end.

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. ~Theodore Rubin

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