[June 20, 2022] Here’s a realistic perspective on life. Life is difficult, and you cannot protect your children. What you can do is prepare them to be strong, courageous, truthful, and resilient in their interaction with other people. This means that you equip them for what life will be, which at a minimum, is a series of difficult challenges.
Can you protect your children? This was a question asked of me many years ago by a young mother who had seen much tragedy in her life – she had lost both her parents – and she desperately wanted to shield her kids from life’s random catastrophes and the evils of others. Of course, we should protect our kids from immediate danger at the moment, but I told her that her best defense of her children would come from the survival tools she gives them.
A resilient person can stand up to those things in the face of fear and move forward, and do so voluntarily. Children can be convinced of their own competence and their ability to prevail as long as we teach them. A principal goal as a parent is to instill in your children a sense of courage in the face of life’s difficulties and not protect them so much.
People and children alike don’t want to be protected from those difficulties. Kids, especially, seem to have a sixth sense of this. “Don’t help me,” my young son would say when he was doing something difficult or dangerous. He knew I was not giving him the trust we parents must give their children by stepping in.
A major part of the meaning of life is the challenges that come with confronting difficulties. To seek out problems and overcome them is one of those mysteries of life. We seek out those that are the most difficult to solve because it gives us something to push against, and from that tough contest, we become stronger and more satisfied with ourselves. Kids can see this, often more than an adult.
If you love your child, what you should be doing is trying to nurture the best in them. You want that to manifest itself throughout their lives to see what they could be and for them to continually become more than they are. This idea is an ancient one. The reality of the world is tragedy and suffering but what emerges from that is the appreciation for what we all can attain.
We are unbelievably resilient and capable. You can’t protect your children, but you can teach them to overcome the many problems that will come their way and teach them to be courageous.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Well written, Gen. Satterfield. I’m having to put some thought into this. I sent your article to a friend of mine at the Univ. of Texas at Austin. I’ll see what he has to say.
I see we have some budding psych guys here today. Ha Ha. Thanks boys for adding a little insight into Jung and in Gen. Satterfield.
More than that, it’s a practical (or realistic) approach to understanding people. Don’t want to understand people? Then, you will not do well in life. To be a leader, you must understand the basics of human psychology and understand the emotions, desires, and needs of us all.
A real realistic view on life! Gen. Satterfield is sounding like Carl Jung, the great psychologist.
The most important difference between Jung and Freud is Jung’s notion of the collective (or transpersonal) unconscious. This is his most original and controversial contribution to personality theory. Read about it. Good info.
According to Jung, the human mind has innate characteristics “imprinted” on it as a result of evolution. These universal predispositions stem from our ancestral past. Fear of the dark, or of snakes and spiders might be examples.
Thank you Gen. Satterfield for this article. Made me think.
Gen. Satterfield, how well did your book signing go this past weekend? I see you posted a few photographs on your Facebook Page — see link to it here: https://www.facebook.com/gen.doug.satterfield/
Bill, from my understanding, it was a big hit in the Smithville, NJ area. A book signing there is rare. I’m from north Jersey and I occasionally go to Historic Smithville to visit the shops and walk around with my dog. I couldn’t go this past weekend – sad for that -but I will in a couple of weeks from now on the weekend before the 4th of July. Great times.
Right, for those who cannot make one of his book signings (to get an autographed copy of ‘Our Longest Year in Iraq’) then go to Amazon and just search on his name or the title of the book. That way, you can support a true leader of Soldiers and tell the world that we have the backs of our great leaders who show courage in the face of extremism and not be like the many who shirk their responsibilities like the political admirals and generals we have in charge today.
Got my copy of “Our Longest Year in Iraq” and I’ve read it twice. Amazing book. Five stars!!!!!!!
Max, thanks for thumb’s up.
Bill, thanks for asking. My wife Nancy and I were pleased with the turnout. What we liked most was the sharing of stories, the struggles of our Vets and families. We will be doing this again.
Wow, I see that Gen. Satterfield is wearing his philosophical clothing today. Great information for those of us who would raise good kids. “Good” in the sense that they are courageous, with a positive attitude and the confidence to do what is good in the face of those who would oppose them.
Powerful statement from Gen. Satterfield, “We are unbelievably resilient and capable. You can’t protect your children, but you can teach them to overcome the many problems that will come their way and teach them to be courageous.” Wow, thanks for you insight into the human soul.
Yep, and exactly why I read this leadership blog every single day.
Excellent article Gen. Satterfield. I had to read it five times to really understand and I’m still ‘thinking’ about it.
Gen. Satterfield has once again given us the answer we need to hear and take heed to follow with his advice. Train your kids to fend off the struggles of the world and protect others against its evils. That is indeed an ancient idea and has been written about by philosophers for thousands of years.
True enough, lydia. Thank you! 😊
Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil. — Plato
Yes, thanks lydia. 😊😊😊😊😊
You’re welcome, Dern.
Yes, good info here for us to pay close attention to, esp. those with kids at home and are wanting them to become good, reliable adults. Adopt responsibility and do not lie.
Shocking answer but makes a lot of sense.
Yes, but something we all need to face …. reality.