This past weekend my youngest son came home from college for the holiday weekend and we got to talking about his adjustment to being a freshman. Learning to take responsibility for managing his time, his workload and the balance between work and play is not easy when transitioning to college, but he has been doing a great job of navigating this tricky time in his life.
I shared with him a recent article that I read…one that confirms something I have felt for a long time:
That our role as mothers is far more important than we could ever imagine; and for a number of reasons that I will share with you, because we are not creating our own amazing, fulfilling lives, neither can they.
The article is called Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges.
As I read the article, I was struck by the similarity between what is being identified in college students today and what I have observed in the beautiful women I have worked with over the past ten years as they move through the ages and stages of their lives; and I warn you, much of what I want to share with you is going to be painful to hear.
“Students’ emotional fragility have become a serious problem”.
I observe the emotional fragility of women on a regular basis. So many of us have forgotten just how strong and courageous we really are and instead, second guess our ability to become the women we know we are meant to be. We fill our lives by “being busy”, but as you already know…being busy isn’t living.
“There is a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life.”
The same can be seen in so very many women today. As I have written about before, life is a string of transitions, some expected and some not. Learning how to navigate challenge and adversity, and the transitions that result, is critical in our ability to live the lives we truly desire. This ability is one that is learned through mastery and is one that we have not been modeling for our children.
“The lack of resilience is interfering with the academic mission (of universities) and is thwarting the emotional and personal development of students.”
I believe that this lack of resilience is directly tied to the lack of resilience of parents today, especially mothers. I know that you may take offense at what I am saying, but as I wrote my principles of Fierce and Feminine Resilience, and began to teach it to women, it became clear that we are unaware of our own resilience; which means that we could not possibly be able to teach it to and model it for our children.
“Students are afraid to fail; they do not take risks; they need to be certain about things.”
The majority of women that I speak to and work with are so overwhelmed with fear and doubt that they become paralyzed from taking risks to go out and get what they really want in their lives. As we hide from taking bold action and stepping outside of our comfort zone, we are teaching the same to our children.
1 in 4 women today is on an anti-depressant today and women are 70% more likely to be depressed than men. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are suffering in the same way that are children are…so how could we not be part of this epidemic? We are not to blame, however I wonder, what can we be doing to change these statistics and find joy, fulfillment and peace in our lives?
“There has been a dramatic decline, over the past few decades, in children’s opportunities to play, explore, and pursue their own interests away from adults. Among the consequences…are well-documented increases in anxiety and depression, and decreases in the sense of control of their own lives.”
I ask you honestly, do you give yourself time to play, explore and pursue your own interests away from your husbands, partners, children and work so that you can nurture the sense of control you have over your own life? Do you?
Motherhood is only another form of leadership; and I would argue, it is the most powerful leadership role you will ever have. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, working or at home, corporate professional or entrepreneur; what matters is that you take responsibility for modeling for your children what it looks like to be happy, healthy, whole and fulfilled.
The numbers speak for themselves…so exactly what are you prepared to do about it?