Dealing with Suffering, a Learning Experience

By | 29/02/2016

Our innate characteristics cannot be underestimated in the context of our psychological development. The strength each of us possesses to overcome obstacles, and learn from them, is even more important than the adversities in our lives. So, instead of trying to protect our children from suffering, we should help them develop their inner potential, so they’ll acquire the ability to withstand physical and mental pain.

It is, after all, impossible to keep a child from suffering from the death of a parent. What can be done is trying to help them develop at an early age the fortitude to deal with the pain of loss and with the burden of responsibilities, heavier than they should have at that age, and to marshal their inner energy to move forward in the best possible way, away from this traumatic, life-changing experience.

We say “the best possible way” because some developments are impossible to avoid. For instance, being saddled with heavy responsibilities so early can affect their whole history, making them less capable of enjoying life and overly concerned with the people who depend on them. There’s not much to do except understanding that we are the result of how our brain responded to the adversities in our lives.

I believe some children are born with a higher tolerance to pain. Children who are not born with this characteristic tend to act out more, and lose control when they feel frustrated. It is our job to teach them how to develop tolerance, but it will be harder for them to learn, and will require more effort from the parent or educator. This is an innate ability, just like some children are born with a gift to play a musical instrument; while less talented children will need more lessons and hard work, the gifted child will be able to play the same song by ear.

But what matters, when it comes to the ability to deal with pain, is not accepting a short fuse as if it were irreversible. We must work hard to help children learn not to react angrily against the inevitable setbacks of life.  I insist on this point, because it’s essential that a child can learn to move past their natural selfishness and be considerate to other people—which frequently means frustration and renouncing some of their own wishes.

We differ from each other in almost all of our physical and mental aspects: be it in our degrees of intelligence, aggressive instincts, intensity of fears and the ability to deal with them or the strength of our sexual instincts. Physical vigor can be measured in health, muscular strength and even height. But only our physical appearance is subject to judgment that is specific to an era and a society.

Have you noticed how beauty, especially feminine, can determine, a person’s fate?  A pretty girl is treated with more reverence from a tender age.  When parents go out with their children, they like to show her off as their “masterpiece.” The girl understands it all, and from an early age, sees herself as someone special, a kind of a princess.  They will figure out, by observing the world, that beauty is crucial, that it holds huge value and privilege. When puberty comes, she’ll get all kinds of special treatment, and will feel all doors of the world are open to her.

She is, as it has been said, a “genetic celebrity,” famous just for being born. She’ll tend to get used to these privileges, and will not become disciplined nor work hard in intellectual or professional activities, which can harm her in the future.

Tradução: Amanda Morris