Growing Through Tough Times

Growing Through Tough Times
Anthony Mwangi

One of the biggest lessons we can impart to our children is that life is not a walk in the park. Challenges will arise from time to time and we must be prepared to invent solutions. The best mindset to adopt in the midst of a challenge is not that of a victim who gripes and complains, but that of a victor who remains focused on inventing solutions and exploring alternative courses of action.

We certainly need to train our kids to be innovators and solution providers to the myriad of challenges facing our world. In Chinese, the word crisis also bears the meaning of opportunity. A crisis or challenge is therefore an opportunity in disguise.

As parents, teachers and mentors, we must avoid the habit of complaining about all manner of things. This sets a bad precedent to the children who are constantly watching us. It does not require much intelligence to see and complain about a problem. In this world, we will have problems. It requires a great deal of intelligence to come up with solutions to those problems. The best sign of growth and maturity in an individual is to confront the challenges of life with the mindset that there is a way to navigate and grow through the challenge.

The covid-19 pandemic brought about an unprecedented disruption of learning worldwide. Many schools and universities were closed for an extensive period of time. However, the disruptions in the education sector might have been worse had online teaching tools not been developed and adopted by the schools that did so. Due to the foresight of a few individuals who designed creative products such as Microsoft Teams, Google Classrooms, Zoom, and a range of customized Learning Management Systems (LMSs), learning went on uninterrupted on the virtual platforms in many private and international schools.

Thus, the foresight of a few individuals in creating a solution to an unforeseen problem helped cushion learners during the government-instituted containment measures which disrupted the normal school calendar. There is no limit to the human imagination in coming up with solutions that will circumvent humanity’s most adverse situations.  Challenges have no power to overcome individuals who are armed with a tenacious mind that generates solutions rather than cower under the pressure of intimidating problems. 

To grow through tough times, let us focus on the adoption of solutions geared toward overcoming every storm that rocks our boat. We need to resolutely come up with workable solutions to get us out of the pits we fall into from time to time. We need to inculcate this attitude and mentality in our children and students in our homes and learning institutions.

The easy tests are those that have a marking scheme. The world has tests for which no marking scheme exists- difficult tests, challenges and battles. We need to equip our children/ learners with the tools necessary to win life’s battles without mentally or emotionally imploding them. This requires character development. One of my lecturers told me that building your character supersedes building your career. Building character takes sacrifice.

Let us reflect on the words of Adoniram Judson who said; “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after.”

Anthony Mwangi, Leadership Teacher at Crawford International School