School of Hard Knocks

Wikipedia defines this as “The School of Hard Knocks is an idiomatic phrase meaning the (sometimes painful) education one gets from life’s usually negative experiences, often contrasted with formal education. It is a phrase which is most typically used by a person to claim a level of wisdom imparted by life experience, which they consider at least equal in merit to academic knowledge. It is a response that may be given when someone is asked about their education, especially if they do not have an extensive formal education but feel they have work/life experience that should be valued instead.”

One of my friends from New Orleans sent me a link to watch that was sent just days after their home team won the Super Bowl.  This victory in January 2010 will hold a special place in their memory for a number of reasons.  After rising from the devastation of a hurricane, rebuilding a stadium, and heading into battle with a long shot quarterback – the Finish Strong MovieSaints played their hearts out and won against a practically perfect in every way team.  The video I was sent was all about facing the challenge, being persistent and overcoming the obstacles that may have been presented before you and persevering to success.

After watching the video, which I would recommend that you do, it made me remember a book that I read years ago called Storms of Perfection by Andy Andrews which was a collection of letters from famous individuals that had achieved success after overcoming some level of trial, tribulation or adversity.  While I have learned that the original is out of print there are subsequent editions that are also great reads!

It begs the question, at least in my mind, that if many of the successful individuals that we can point to have had some type of challenging circumstance along the way that they needed to overcome before they could truly reach the outcome they pursued, should we rethink how we approach challenges and the school of hard knocks situations or should we relish them and take them head on with excitement and gusto knowing we have an opportunity to become our own storm of perfection?

As parents, many of us want to streamline the process our children go through – greasing the chute, as they say, toward the successful result.  Are we cheating them out of their own school of hard knocks situations?  If you asked our grandparents, they would probably tell us that the best lessons were learned without interference of another – and that in those instances true growth happens because that is the nature of life – teaching us at every turn.

The bottom line here is that whether we are parenting our children, or listening to the self talk in our own heads, the greatest challenges in life are there for us to learn, grow and work towards our own desired end.  Like the word crisis in Chinese being written with the two characters of danger and opportunity, or the Yin and the Yang symbol representing the end of an old system creating opportunity for new exciting things, we too can embrace the challenges that face us.  With the right attitude we can accomplish anything because it is not what happens to us but how we handle it that is important.

Explore posts in the same categories: Life Lessons, Parenting

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