“The real world’s gonna walk all over them if you don’t toughen him up.”
How exactly? Yes, it can be a cruel and rough world. But if I show my child the good in people. The potential in people. That a person is more than just a negative moment. Show him all of the positive in the world. The good deeds done by strangers.
If I can counter his negative with understanding and positive guidance. That mistakes do not define a person. That people are indeed flawed. To meet this hostility and harshness with patience. That a positive interaction could potentially change someone’s entire course of life.
If I can teach my child to be strong. To be be well spoken. Explain that failure will happen. That rejection is a part of life; but just a small part of it. Teach him that he can pick himself up and start again. That a bad encounter isn’t a personal reflection of him. If I can make him see the value in himself. His self-worth. His self-esteem. The negativity won’t permeate his outlook. His demeanor.
If I can do all of these things without the threat of punishment. The threat of being hit. Without that little voice of fear in the back of mind, whispering to him reminders that those whose love him and protect him are capable of hurting him. If I can do this. Then the answer is no. No the world will not walk all over him. No he won’t need to endure a childhood of being ‘toughed up’ for this ‘real world’ you speak of.
If anything; he will enter this world. Bringing with him true empathy that is lacking in it. True understanding. He will supply it with optimism. Fill it with hope. He could, quite possibly, make changes in this ‘toughened’ landscape; that very well may ripple through it. Softening it’s image. Making it more endurable so future generations won’t need this ‘toughening up’ you’re so fond of. Instead of continuing this cycle of toughening, how about we try this different approach. One that doesn’t assume the worst in people.