When I grew up I was not a fighter.
I went to a Quaker school for 8 years (they deeply believe in non-violence), and became a black belt in a martial arts form that literally translates to “open fist”, meaning you learn how to defend yourself without necessarily attacking. Even though I may have received the ‘non-violent’ approach from multiple sources, it does not make you impervious to emotional and physical injury, including failure.
When I was in fourth grade a kid named Charlie kept making fun of me on the playground. I gave him verbal warning number one…number two… and after he continued to poke, I picked up a rubber trash can and threw it at him. Keep in mind, I was very scrawny growing up so this was not as if I was throwing an Olympic javelin towards his head. The trash bin did actually hit him causing no injury, but scared him enough that he left me alone.
Another time I was running towards the basketball courts and tripped, falling face first on cement. Fortunately, I have no scars to prove it, but it did leave a nice strawberry on my cheek. The pain healed and I moved on, knowing that if I continued to run like that there was a risk involved. For a long time the fall played over and over in the back of my mind whenever I went to play basketball at that court.
As a kid, I felt fragile.
Physically speaking, I was typically underweight, did not have a lot of muscle, felt I had a low threshold for pain, was scared easy, and compared myself to my “stronger” peers.
Years later, experiencing all of the struggle, adversity, injuries, pain, ADHD, and anxiety adolescence and young adulthood has to offer I believe that I have turned out quite well. With that being said, those same playgrounds have recycled rubber playing surfaces instead of concrete, bolted down trash bins vs throwable ones (this one may actually be for the better), and typically parent’s or another adult constantly supervising and ‘co-playing’.
In a society where around a third of kids are sent to school with sanitizing gel, what is the impact of a parent’s anxiety in how fragile a kid may grow up. Psychology Today’s Editor at Large, Hara Estroff Marano rights an interesting piece titled, “A Nation of Wimps”.
Read the article here and share your thoughts below!