Rule #51: The Cowardly Lion Rule
“What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk
What makes the muskrat guard his musk – COURAGE”
Cowardly Lion Wizard of Oz.
In watching the tragic events in the Ukraine over the last several weeks I have thought a lot about Courage and Evil.
The first line of the Lion’s speech in the Wizard of OZ was powerful.
” What makes a King out of a Slave- COURAGE “
Against staggering odds, the brave Citizens of the Ukraine are teaching the world what the word courage means. That they are defining by their very lives the character and purpose of facing evil no matter how frightening it appears. They know they not only face death, but nearly certain death. Yet they continue to fight with resolve and purpose. As I watch this I am humbled by their strength and character.
It also worries me when I look at our society and ask if we have the Courage as a people.
Yes, for certain we see it in the military and first responders – that willingness to charge into the fight or fire with no promise of safe return. We have well trained people willing to protect us.
But are we as a society strong enough to have courage to face what the Ukraine people are facing?
Are we teaching our children to be have Courage when needed.
In the past several generations we drifted from wanting to be dangerous to the wanting to be protected.
I get it. I’m part of that drift.
When your belly is full and your biggest immediate concern is how to get around the new Netflix security, keeping what you have seems so much more important than fighting anyone. We forget the battles our grandparents and great grandparents fought to get us to that ample table. Keeping what you have seems really important.
And instead of fighting to see your kids survive, we now what to make sure they not only have a level playing field but one sloped towards the goal. We have taught our kids to be fearful of being offended, and to expect that their rights have priority. People should not be allowed to offend them or disappoint them . That they can win a game by just showing up, and the score doesn’t really matter because we they are all winners.
When I see celebrities like Lori Loughlin cheat the system to get her child in the best schools, I worry because I have a little too much Lori in me. Whatever influence and power you have, channeling it to give your child an uneven playing field advantage seems to make a lot of sense. It feels good to have the means to move barriers to success out of the way for your kids, that their ability to win is a personal success.
But seeing the Ukraine and real adversity, I wonder if I did not do more harm than help.
Part of the ability to be dangerous is the ability to face down obstacles and at times evil and spit in the devil’s eye. Its the ability to kick the bully his ass when you need to.
In a world that is now offended by things like language usage we may have forgotten to give our kids the skills to recognize evil, and more importantly the ability to stand up to it. Besides Putin and Russia there is much evil in the world today, and the last weeks have shown us that it can not be negotiated with , or reasoned with. There will be no a class action civil rights attorney available for every grievance of their lives, we must teach our children to stand up for themselves and suck up most of the small offenses of life.
Its not that we need to make our kids dangerous thugs that are looking for a fight. But we need to help them become a little more dangerous in a dangerous world.
It is to teach our kids that falling down is part of life, and what takes courage is the ability to get up, And that when they fail they will likely be ridiculed for trying, which they need to ignore and move on. The world does not give us guidance counselors for emotional support for every fall down, often our kids need to rub some dirt on it and get back into the god damn game. Tell them stop feeling sorry for themselves, that falling is part of growing , and that they need to feel the pain to understand the victory.
I often talk in this blog and podcast about life being hard. It is fucking hard.
It is unfair, and often times the bad people win, and the bully pushes down the little guy.
But life owes them nothing. You as parents owe them nothing. This has to come from inside, because being dangerous and having courage can not be given it has to be learned.
Generally with a loving wife, 6 kids, a thriving business and a measure wealth I am consider successful. But along the way I had negative net worth twice and way displaced from 9 jobs. Life sucks often, but if you get up you can make parts of it wonderful.
I consider myself dangerous not because I can beat up the next guy, because let’s face it I can’t. But I’m dangerous because I know I can get up, that I know that the next flood is not going to drown me and the next firing won’t be my last. Dangerous means you have courage to fight life’s problems and win through attrition if not through strength.
I want my kids to learn that – that when I am gone -the ability of learning to be confident, dangerous and courageous remains. That they are ready to hit back at life when it hits them. To keep moving and never stop.
Its most important that I teach them to be able to take the hit, and maybe not work so hard at having them avoid the shots of life.
My wish is for my kids to be fighters, and seize from life its joys and smack down it obstacles.