Thursday, January 04, 2007

Toughness

We start homeschooling with James on Monday.

I've been putting off getting organized for that by trying to organize my entire life, or at least the tottering piles of boxes in the bedroom. Thus I've been encountering all the debris of unfinished business and unmade decisions and unmanageable aspirations.

Meanwhile my head is ringing with echoes of dissonant holiday conversations. Thanks for all the advice, folks. Why didn't you offer it a month or a year ago, when I could have made use of it?

Every once in a while I think about blogging, and the only topic that really entices me is some variation on "Going Offline." "How to Quit Blogging." (Just do it.) That or a post about "Ice as Geography," but that's just another reaction to Kate. Too much reacting, not enough knowing where I'm going and walking on by.

All this has got me thinking about toughness. I need some.

What is emotional toughness?

Where does it come from? Do I need to get out there and collect scars? Is it something I can cultivate? Or is it something you have to get before you turn six? Or are some lucky folks born with it?

And if I can cultivate it, then there's the big question.

Can I get tough without getting mean?

4 comments:

Madcap said...

Another synchronicity, Laura. I've been thinking about toughness too. But I think flexible resilience is the better option, because being tough makes me a grouch. Now, how to BE flexibly resilient is a lesson I haven't mastered yet.

Hey, good luck with the h'schooling, and don't sweat the organization too much. Learning happens.

arcolaura said...

Thanks, mum. I've been reading the Saskatchewan school curriculum and thinking this is going to be fun - I may be learning just as much as James! Mom and Dad have offered a morning a week to help out, which is a good start on my goals of wider social interactions and firm challenges.

I've come across that "resilience" word too. It probably has better connotations. A willow shoot may not be tough - could even be quite tender - but it's flexible and strong. Resilient.

SimplyTim said...

Laura,

I, for one, hope you can find a way to continue posting. I enjoy your "stuff." But I also know what you mean about the volume of material that is "out there" and how to stay on top of it requires a lot of time.

For me, big surprise, I use my mantra (you know it: I will rush no more!) as a guiding principle and just do what I do.

When I pick up a book I have a sure fired test of value: I open it to a page at random, read the first paragraph my eyes light on and if it speaks truth to me, then I'll jump to another page and repeat. If it aagain speaks truth and captures my imagination and interest, then I may go further.

That's how I do it with blogs also. It works well for me. I feel under no obligation to read everything but I create a place in my mind which says "make sure you get back there and see more reflections of truth. But I also create the space in my mind where I allow for posts that don't "speak to me" all the time.

This is approximately how I look at toughness: it's the ability and the willingness to do something or go somewhere where it's not necessarily within our comfort zone and where there is a distinct risk that some bruising may take place. Not physical bruising but ego bruising.

If we succeed in the situation, we build confidence for dealing with uncomfortable situations and that encourages us to be able to do it again when and if toughness is called for in another situation.

If it's not successful, then resilience is that quality which helps you to get up and dust yourself off, learn the lessons, and the next day pull the etch-a-sketch sheet up and see what new opportunities are presented for that day.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Tim

arcolaura said...

Thanks Tim - that sounds much like what I've heard other places. I feel like I'm taking some risk this week, but no bad bruises yet . . .