Last week my bookclub finished Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, which I highly recommend. Our discussion focused for some time on how we get a solid foundation within ourselves that supports us to be resilient with life’s challenges. One of the group members, a psychologist, talked about that foundation being fairly set by the age of two – a frightening thought for parents I imagine. We reflected around the group about how our personal foundations were more or less solid – some more so, some less so.
In my own case I am aware that I have inherited a resigned response to life’s challenges “It’s too hard”, “What’s the point”, “Nothing will change” – not a strong sense of self-efficacy “I can do something about this”. This often shapes my first reaction to a challenge but being aware of this patterned response I can take a breath and give myself another and more useful thought and choice about this.
In the group we talked about how we build on whatever foundation we have had early on in life. We thought that it was possible to keep building on that foundation.
It struck me how important parents and parent figures are in affirming and acknowledging our essential worth and capacity as human beings (no wonder parents are so important and Brene Brown’s last chapter of the book is dedicated to parenting). I shared a story about my husband Joe’s Dad, Bob, telling me how proud he was of the people that Joe and I were as we were preparing to fly home to Perth from Brisbane. It was really powerful for me to hear these words from my father-in-law even in my 40s and it has always stayed with me. It made me appreciate how important it is for me to affirm and acknowledge young people in my life – to keep adding to their foundation as they move into adulthood.
(Bob feeding the cows with a beloved grandchild)