When does Difficulty Breed Courage?

When does Difficulty Breed Courage?

The other day I was asked directly which FSS participants I thought were lazy.  I must admit I was stumped.  Because wikipedia defines the word thus: “laziness (also called indolence) is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so.”

From ‏@Daniel_L_Baker

From ‏@Daniel_L_Baker & Tim McCloskey

Despite having the ability to do so

Who defines this so-called ability? Because if lethargy and sluggishness is due to

  • depression,
  • chronic fatigue syndrome,
  • thyroid disease,
  • diabetes,
  • hypoglycemia,
  • sleep apnea
  • or even allergies,

…then it’s not fair to label the illness as a character flaw.  Better to treat the illness.

Some people think inaction is due to variety of non-medical factors, such as:

  • fear of not doing well,
  • loss of motivation,
  • being dependent upon others,
  • learned behaviors, and so forth.

But these conditions can be repaired, so wringing our hands and giving up on someone is probably not the best way to help them.

In his essay Traits that Define Lazy People, James Lynne (Life Paths 360) lists some conditions that sap energy and concludes that people, in general, want to be excited and animated about life and the opportunities it presents. Furthermore, he believes that “laziness is usually a symptom of something bigger than a character trait.”

We asked several FSS Participants if they thought success was an all-or-nothing prospect and many believe it is.  They think reaching a goal takes luck, talent, innate ability – anything but hard work.

This lack of resilience is not laziness, however.  Some say it should be taught at the earliest years.  And just like the FSS Coordinator who encourages and coaches for resilience, some say that for our kids, when it comes to creating resilient students, educator resilience matters.  Resilience building requires that you accept yourself for who are, and accept that you will make mistakes.

A good coach, teacher, or FSS Coordinator extends the same tolerance to those enrolled in the program.

All of which tells me that sticking the label of laziness on someone is just a way to make my job easier. Because if I can blame them for inaction, then the case is closed, right?  My job is done.   Except, wait: maybe that makes me the one who is lazy.

At Greater Minnesota Family Services, the staff is using a model of youth empowerment that encompasses four core values: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. They suggested that children who are often referred to as “alienated”, “troubled” or “difficult” are at risk because they live in an environment that is hazardous – one that breeds discouragement.  And according to Kevin Kappler, @theravive, being discouraged can be devastating and may stop you in your tracks.

Seems like adults could benefit from a similar system as the circle of courage.  And maybe we can create this type of environment.


Thanks to:  @HYSHO,  @mindsetworks,  @carthagebuckley, ‏@Daniel_L_Baker

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