My daughter had just taken her school final maths exam – and was shell-shocked!
Dazed and upset, she described her struggle to complete a paper that probably was 45 minutes too lengthy – and that left many of her classmates literally in tears. Some high-drama then played out across the country over this issue.
- Parents launched a petition to demand a re-test – or more lenient valuation.
- Students lamented the irreparable damage to their academic future.
- Even Parliamentarians asked for a review of the examination process.
The premise underlying all the angst and agitation seems to be…
This Was Too Tough – And That’s Not Fair!
No. It isn’t. But then…
Life isn’t easy. Or fair.
As adults, we’re intimately (if uncomfortably) familiar with this reality.
What will you do when Life sucker-punches your little angel in the gut?
Or smashes its ham-handed fist right into his smiling face?
Will you always be around, to kiss the place and make it well?
Can you even make it well at all?
Listen, you and I know the chance of being smacked upside down by Fate and circumstance is higher than not. We’ve all had it happen to us over the years. And found ways to cope, overcome, and carry on.
One deeply upset young man in her class described the debacle on WhatsApp as: “Life and death!”
It’s like being told you have terminal cancer – and will die in 3 months.
Or like a psychopath holding a gun at your head – and waiting to have it blown off.
I get it.
“Life and death.”
Give me a break!
How about getting some perspective here?
So, a paper is tough. You get fewer marks. Your dreams of a course or career go up in smoke. Sure, that’s terrible. But not “life and death”, right?
To look at some of the melodrama playing out on online forums and the media, you’d think a new form of bio-terrorism had been unleashed on the populace, or that news just broke of a cataclysmic catastrophe that will destroy the planet.
As parents, adults, elders, we have to think about lessons learned in life. Consider some questions to ask ourselves.
- About how we react to these situations…
- How we deal with them…
- How we help our youngsters address setbacks…
- How we comfort, encourage and energize them to keep going…
Are we doing our children a favor by reacting instinctively?
By not being wise, sober and cool-headed adults they can trust and learn from?
Isn’t being over-protective and defensive, or becoming strident activists for (what we call) “fairness”, actually giving those we love a handicap in the long game of Life?
Looking back on almost five decades, I can’t recall a period when nothing was “tough” or “went wrong”. Yet the most satisfying and fulfilling accomplishments came while overcoming the odds, facing up to challenges, pitting wits and talents against obstacles and hurdles.
In a sense, that’s what it’s all about.
Surviving. Overcoming. Winning.
That’s why I believe we, as parents and well-wishers, mentors and advisors, role models and guides, would do better to give our loved ones a powerful pick-up message like Sylvester Stallone does in the movie, Rocky Balboa. (Watch the 46 second clip below)
Speaking of pick-up messages, you might like my book… it has some powerful lessons to share.