“Without struggle, there is no progress”.
In a recent tweet echoing many philosophers, Mike Tyson said that to achieve anything worthwhile, we must struggle and feel the fear and hardship because he understands the divine purpose ‘God gives us fear to protect ourselves.
Fear is the driving force behind any great achievers.
To become the best version of ourselves, learning this concept helps us build strong character and, ultimately, a life we will be proud of in the future, even with its short-lived.
Anything worth doing will encounter some difficulties and challenges. Let’s take, for instance, the life of Mike Tyson.
As a youth, Tyson joined a street gang at a very early age and was in trouble with the law many times before he was 12 years old. After an arrest for armed robbery, he went to Tyron School in 1978, a juvenile correction centre in upstate New York. It was there that his life changed direction.
It highlights the problem of when children have no firm foundation steep in values and appropriate morals that gives them meaning and a purposeful direction, not forgetting powerful role models in their lives.
Role models or mentors can be a parent or someone who sees the potential of that child and help them craft and believe in themselves, which is the potent ingredient for greatness.
“The greatness of a man is measured by how he treats the little man. Compassion for the weak is a sign of greatness”. – Myles Munroe
Mike Tyson became great because he had a great mentor who instilled greatness in him and made sure Tyson worked on critical skills that would shape his thinking and approach to life later in life.
Who was Cus D’Amato?
According to Tyson, this man was the reason for his greatness because he was the man who launched Tyson into boxing greatness and became his legal guardian.
How heart-breaking when a child feels the disconnection with their family members, where they are supposed to have the strongest bond and connection.
“I never saw my mother happy with me and proud of me for doing something. She only knew me as a wild kid running the streets, coming home with new clothes that she knew I didn’t pay for. I never got a chance to talk to her or know about her. Professionally, it has no effect, but it’s crushing emotionally and personally.” – Mike Tyson.
After many years of physical, mental and emotional training, Mike went hard with all the skills he gained from addressing his fears and facing his inner demons.
When we don’t handle our inner critics and traumas and do not accept God’s unconditional love, our lives spiral destructively and cause anguish that impacts us all our adult lives.
So what are the essential skills children must learn to build their character from parents, legal guardians or mentors that will allow them to give, do their best and think big amid struggles and darkness?
Knowledge is Power
Everywhere and everybody is talking about how knowledge is power. Not money is power, or beauty is power. The world understands that to make an impact; we must comprehend the true meaning of this statement.
When we understand, it’s highly enlightening and liberating; since if we know how to take care of ourselves, we can be a better version of ourselves.
Tobias Harris said that ‘we really want our kids, and our youth, to understand that one, knowledge is power, and two, you don’t have to be shy about being educated, and being ahead of the learning curve’.
That is why Ben Carson’s mother, Sonya, enforced on her two children that if anybody can do it, they can do it better and did everything in her power with the firm belief in God to make that a reality.
With that knowledge and conviction, one of the children has surpassed societal norms and has become one of the world-famous neurosurgeon and number-one New York Times bestselling author, especially with a background of poverty and academic failures.
The late Kofi Annan confirmed Sonya Carson’s motto that ‘Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”.
That is why, even though she didn’t have any academic background while her children were little, she made sure she taught them the importance of learning and becoming their best.
She wholeheartedly believed that by studying and striving for greatness through academic excellence, they would one day become the embodiment of God’s design and greatness. After all, she and eventually her children believed that “nothing big ever came from thinking small”.
At Cherished Blossoms, we believe children learn best through combined creative play, and active studying, which is an approach we believe helps prepare children for the real world.
We train children to think critically, embrace and learn how to use their self-confidence, right attitude and mindset to make the right choices and gain knowledge that will give them the power to excel and succeed.
Some of the children who attend our workshop can’t read or, if they can, they do so through memorisation techniques. Unfortunately, most schools focus on teaching students how to read by reading to the kids and teaching them how to memorise the words and through picture books.
This system probably applies to other areas of subjects taught in class.
Our emphasis is that leaders are readers. So when we work with the children, we strive to establish the child’s unique knowledge bank and learning style.
By identifying these critical elements about the child, we put in place how best for the child to learn in a fun environment that will boost their confidence. The attitude is that learning is fun and doable when they understand how and why.
No child is weak or stupid; they just haven’t found their unique power of gaining the essential knowledge they need to stand tall in the world.
“Kids are smart. Knowledge is power. Let them figure things out. Don’t turn into that grown-up who they won’t come to”. – Lauren Myracle
At Cherished Blossoms, we have an open system that allows children to maintain and stay curious about their learning ability and push themselves every day.
Instilling continuous reading, asking questions, and interacting safely with the digital world, such as watching educational programmes, exploring their environment and challenging whatever situations they find themselves in, is the ethos of our brand.
And if it seems impossible, we encourage them to come up with a solution that will help with their learning and personal development.
As Mary J Blige said best, “I wish I had known that education is the key. That knowledge is power. Now I pick up books and watch educational shows with my husband. I’m seeing how knowledge can elevate you.”
Understand the importance of self-love
Mental health is at the forefront of every media channel and everyone’s mind; why is that… maybe it stems from the overwhelming exposure to the problems in the world, or perhaps, this current generation is losing sight of what true self-love is!
Who to blame? Could it be our society? Our upbringing with the family unit, or could it be our environment or worse yet, our individual doing that’s making life so chaotic and highly destructive that it has a detrimental effect on our mind and body.
So what is self-love, and why is it essential to understand its influence in our lives, especially children.
One definition that I believe is appropriate is described in an article by Zubayer Zakir Khan in The Daily Star, “People who love themselves are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression; self-love also paves the way to a positive mindset, an essential ingredient for success in life and mental well-being. Learning to love yourself also reduces stress, lessens procrastination and makes you more focused at work.” How accurate.
While waiting in line at the security checkpoint at the airport, I witnessed the impact and importance of self-love in action. With various families’ transitioning through the security checkpoint, observing and watching was a fun experience and an opportunity to help pass the time.
My attention drew towards two families’; one had three children under the age of 8 years with both parents present, and another with a grandmother and mother of one little boy at the age of 7years old.
Through their behaviour and interaction, you instantly notice the difference between these two families regarding their beliefs and values. Without any judgements or biases, while observing these families from a distance, the first thing that caught my attention is how self-love is crucial and beneficial in stressful situations.
When you are experienced in building up your self-love reservoir, you instinctively understand the principle of accepting yourself fully. You treat yourself with kindness and respect so that you don’t fall into a puddle of shame and self-hatred, especially when you mess up or make a mistake.
Your mindset of deep appreciation for yourself has grown to actions that support and nurtures your physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
It may seem impossible to reach this state of being or hard work to work on this essential part of our lives consistently, but when we do, with time and patience, we exhibit the radiance that shines brightly from within our confidence and love.
Back to these two families at the airport, it was evident that the grandmother, with her years of experience and dedication, has taught both her child and granddaughter the importance of self-love.
She didn’t just do what grandparents are famous for, spoiling their grandchildren; instead, she showed how to dissolve and avoid a situation that could have turned stressful and embarrassing through self-love.
The seven-year-old child displayed signs of tiredness, crankiness and overwhelming, possibly from the whole experience of travelling, waiting and not having the ability to exert and burn off energy through physical play freely so naturally; the child wanted to show his annoyance and frustration.
Grandmother noticed and quickly and swiftly stepped in with rituals that possibly she had created with her grandchild when situations proved too much to handle.
She immediately gave the child a warm bear cuddle. She spoke gently with the child in a meditative tone, allowing them to appreciate the moment positively by avoiding the entrapment of negative self-talk.
It allowed them to breathe through the experience and appreciate that it’s all part of the challenges in life that he has to deal with because, sure enough, it will happen again. The lesson was simple; he must learn to accept that it’s part of life, making the journey easier to digest.
“The right mental attitude will guide you towards feeling a sense of love that you deserve to experience.” – Anonymous.
Understand the importance of a healthy mindset and attitude
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about a healthy mindset and attitude? Does it conjure life that is peaceful and full of bliss, or does it invokes anarchy and unrest?
Michael Jackson, Whitney Huston, and Prince are just a few celebrities who left the world in shock and, most notably, with uncompleted paths and journeys. Why did their lives seem unhealthy and tortured?
Yes, apart from the physical substances that intoxicated their bodies, the crucial downfall to their shortened lives was their mindset and attitude, which were toxic and unforgettable.
They cried for a better life, but deep-rooted issues with their mindsets from early childhood and lack of a genuinely supportive network resulted in them spirally out of control.
Let’s take the King of POP’s life journey. You can see from his mesmerising childhood that regardless of his worldly achievement and status, he had an unhealthy upbringing and training because it prevented him from having a good quality of life. All his choices and actions he took began with his beliefs and thoughts.
“I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do.”
This thought led to his habitual mindset and “Peter Pan Syndrome” attitude. He had repeated that “I totally identify with Peter Pan, the lost boy from Never Neverland”.
Not a clinical diagnosis in the medical world, but a term pinned as a pop psychology condition referring to an adult, usually male, who does not want to engage with the world as an adult but instead remains in a state of childlike innocence.
Evidently, his father and family members didn’t help his situation with a lack of support and direction.
Michael once said that he was working away at a recording studio, and he looked across the street and saw kids playing, and he just yearned to be with them rather than doing the thing he was doing.
It was something that plagued him, got under his skin, troubled him throughout his life and possibly the root cause of his early dismissal, never having the chance to heal himself and work on these destructive issues. Instead, he was under pressure to perform and please others while silently slipping away.
A healthy mindset and attitudes start from childhood. If it’s cultivated and nurtured from an early age, it changes someone with an unfavourable trajectory and assists them in living and having a much better and fulfilling lifestyle.
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi summarised that having a positive mindset that is healthy mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually starts with just a positive thought process.
After all, how can we live a successful and fruitful life if our minds are filled with dark cobwebs of doubts, fears and worries!
If only Michael had help and guidance, maybe he would still be the King of Pop two decades later with a sterner legacy and enjoying his old age with reverence and incredible solitude.
Perhaps he would have found the solution, whereby his understanding of his issues would give him the drive and desire to better himself.
Therefore, we should strive for peaceful minds so that any thoughts and actions from inside will be clean, healthy, and filled with the right mindset and attitude.
Understand that authentic leadership begins when we learn to lead ourselves first
Mr Stedman exclaimed in his New York Times bestseller that to become a passionate, purposeful and meaningful leader, we must identify who we are; know our strengths and skills. This starts by leading ourselves first.
How do we teach children the importance of leadership and how they can learn to lead themselves and others? The answer, as explained above, is through embracing the fact that knowledge is power, appreciating the relevance of self-love and having the right positive mindset and attitude.
The final ingredient to a leadership position, according to Mr Stedman, is the journey of believing in themselves, knowing their competence, continually challenging themselves, and being patient with themselves.
After monitoring their behaviour and characteristics during a workshop with the children, the majority were eager to lead their peers. Still, as expected, the position caused fear and anxiety, and they started backing away and wanted to fall back and relinquish.
A classic sign when we don’t trust and believe in our abilities.
Catching them early and working with them to disperse this mentality that they are not capable is what will help them build the character needed to lead.
With some encouragement and mentoring, one particular child rose to the challenge. At the sweet age of fourteen, her willingness to assist me during the workshop was evident.
When the opportunity came for her to shine, I gave her a chance; knowing her hesitation and resistance, I reassured her that I was there for her whenever she felt nervous and if she wanted some assistance, all she needed to do was ask.
She surprised herself when the courage came slowly but surely in only 15mins of the leadership opportunity. She had found her voice and her ability. She used that position wisely, as from watching her in action, I knew that if she could do it, all the other children exhibiting the same anxiety only needed the proper support and encouragement.
How accurate “Lend a helpful hand. Encourage. Always listen. Do the right thing. Energise. Respect Others. Serve.”
And a personal favourite is “True leaders don’t create their own followers – they create more leaders to inspire the world”.
Understand that self-discovery begins with spiritual acceptance
Without getting too heavy with spirituality, it’s wise to understand that everything we experience and encounter on earth is somehow related spiritually.
You may believe it or shy away, but as humans, to discover our true selves, knowing our spiritual history is advisable if we genuinely want to be at peace in our minds and souls.
It doesn’t mean attending church, mosque, or any religious practice. It has more to do with believing that there’s something much higher and more supreme governing over us without knowing or seeing with our two eyes.
That’s where faith and hope come into play because when we truly believe that someone is providing and catering for our lives daily, we humbly appreciate all the small miracles that we take for granted.
If we operate from a spiritual standpoint, our spiritual energies will be more attuned, and our journey in life will be less strife with worldly obstacles.
We often believe we can handle the big world on our own. Some believe they achieved worldly success on their own, which from the onset is valid as hard work and consistency in working on their craft and skills eventually provide the material success we strive for socially.
However, when we reach the pinnacle of success, we tend to feel empty, unhappy and disillusioned because we’re not feeling the true happiness of joy and contentment.
The only way to experience the peace that comes with societal success is to believe and operate from a place of divinity and acceptability that there’s something much more superior and powerful than our understanding.
Some successful celebrities, business owners and world-changers have publically declared that since they started operating from a place of spirituality, their success has compounded and even propelled them further than they would have if they went solo.
Influential celebrities such as Denzel Washington, Joyce Meyer, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber all realised that when they relinquished and let go of trying to overcome the world by themselves, they didn’t experience the deep void of loneliness and emptiness.
They had purposeful direction when their spiritual compass was in alignment.
As Steve Harvey said, “There has been nothing more impactful on my life and meaningful to me than the introduction of Christ. That, hands down, blows away every joke I’ve ever written.”
When we have a foundational understanding of spirituality, we discover our true calling and purpose in life and accept that spirituality helps shape our thinking and allows us to deal with difficult circumstances.
For instance, Dr Steven Southwick’s book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, describes the story of a woman who overcame the post-traumatic stress following an abduction and rape by believing that her trauma “served as a platform for her personal development, forcing her to evaluate her life and gradually change it for the better. She credits her ability to move forward with her life…to her dedication to spirituality.”
To discover ourselves and to find true happiness, our subconscious or spiritual journey will lead the way. Since we operate 95% subconsciously, it is much easier and safer to allow ourselves the freedom that self-awareness and submission to our spiritual journey bring.
Spirituality is not an easy topic to teach children, especially if adults haven’t grasped the concept and benefits. The focus shouldn’t necessarily involve going to church only, but more to do with the actual connection and relationship they must build with the higher being.
Call it whatever you want, but ultimately it all begins and ends with God.
We may deny and refuse to accept, but when we centre our lives on this fact, all our struggles and challenges will become bearable and meaningful.
We must thoroughly understand that to discover ourselves truly, it’s best to accept that the world is full of spiritual energies, some good and some proportionally bad, so being aware of these will enable us to make the right and wise choices.
To impact the youth of today and future generation, it’s our duties as parents and caregivers to teach them that life begins when they understand the importance of their spiritual journey since it’s the governing compass of their lives.
This makes life’s transitions and trajectory easier to face and handle and gives them the peace and reassurance that “It is far better to trust in your own authority, even if you make some “mistakes” along the way, than always to look outside yourself for guidance”. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
That authority comes from their subconscious and spiritual compass, giving them the strength to help overcome hardships, make healthier choices and may help them live longer due to the strong connection to divinity.
After all, it’s been claimed by Giancarlo Lucchetti, lead author of the study (spirituality and religiousness to other health interventions), that people with solid spiritual life had an 18% reduction in mortality.
His team calculated that the life-lengthening benefits of spirituality could be compared to eating a high amount of fruits and vegetables or taking blood pressure medication.
We want our children to be happy and fulfilled, so teaching and showing them that it’s our duty as parents and caregivers to lead the way.
Daily pressures and emotions affect our health and minds, and grounding our thinking and mindset from a spiritual viewpoint will guide us and make our job easier.
Easier doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect or straightforward lifestyle, but simply that it’s achievable with the right tool by your side.
When you feel your world is crumbling and your child is tearing up your inner soul into shreds, have the assurance that ‘it shall pass’ and the lessons and experiences gained will be the same that you will use to mould them.
Just learn and apply the same lessons you endeavour to teach them; after all, children learn best from imitating the adults in their lives. Happy family home, happy children. Most importantly, God first