I felt compelled to write a follow on to my post yesterday. I had spoken about exposing our children to sorrow. It is important to teach children that at times life is difficult. An important lesson has to accompany this. At all points in your life, you need to believe. Belief is a strange creature. It is amorphous. It has no legs. It defies logic. Current reality often cannot possibly make you believe. But you believe.

In life, there are valuable lessons to be learnt. The ability to conjure optimism alongside a harsh confrontation of current reality is one. Its not easy to be in a burning plane and believe that you will somehow land safely. In a rare gem of insight into the human mind, James Collins in his book Good to Great spoke about belief. He interviewed a prisoner of war in Vietnam, James Stockdale, who provided a very important lesson. “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be [1].” He believed.

Life, often is like that. I am an optimist. I see good in almost every situation. I acquire strength from  every disappointment; no matter how terrible. I confront my reality. I believe. Our scriptures talk about duality or dvandva. Light and Darkness. Good and Evil. Yin and Yang. These notions show up again and again. The ability to believe and confront reality is another dvandva.

A kinder, gentler version of this is necessary for our children. Perhaps, you need to teach them that true belief, paradoxically, is freedom from ego. Perhaps, you need to provide the optimism. Perhaps, you need to lend them strength.  At least until they acquire the ability to believe.