Past Suffering, Future Strength
What breaks us down can build us up.
The Washington Post published a column talking about Millennials entitled "The Unluckiest Generation in U.S. History."
The article pointed to real economic struggles faced by young adults today. Compared to their parents' generation, many Millennials are having a harder time paying off student loans, establishing a career, and buying a home.
Still, the unluckiest generation in U.S. history? Not generations that experienced slavery, the Civil War, the Great Depression, limited opportunities for women, Jim Crow, or life expectancy that was half of what it is today? It is quite the claim.
While this would not be the first hyperbolic headline meant to generate clicks, it may point to something deeper.
We have our problems, to say the least. Still, by many metrics, life is better in 2022 than it was in 1922 or 1822. That doesn’t mean our ability to deal with difficulty has improved.
Jonathan Haidt, a co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind, has talked a lot in recent years about the unintended negative consequences of "overparenting."
Parents, with the best of intentions, have taken a more active role in protecting their kids from potential harm. In the process, they may have stunted the growth of their kids’ “psychological immune system.” Kids learn from mistakes and disappointments — if they are allowed to experience them.
Many of our past challenges pushed us to grow. Past suffering is often the seed for future strength.