Has anyone been feeling like Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemption recently?
Imprisoned, slowly chiselling away, but never losing hope that a better future awaits us.
In a conversation with Red, Andy states; “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”
It got me thinking recently around resilience, courage and the ability to maintain a positive focus, when so much of the noise we hear is negative.
My wonderful Dad, who never had a father in his life, was sent to boarding school at the age of four in the 1940’s. Meanwhile my Nanna was house sharing and couch surfing as she tried to seek out a way to survive as a single Mum.
Dad tells me the story of how the Brothers inducted him into their schooling philosophy. They said son “you weren’t brought up, you were kicked and told to get up”. He described the leather strap being delivered with regularity and a scary enthusiasm. That’s some environment to step into as a four year old.
Turns out my Dad is a pretty strong and resilient bugger!
The other story Dad tells me, is that Nanna used to make sandwiches and bake scones every weekend and then make the two-hour journey by train to visit him.
Every single weekend!
Not every kid in boarding school was that lucky.
Despite the brutal schooling environment, my Nanna was able to show her love, compassion and hope for my Dad.
Thinking about this now, my take is that our internal resilience comes from navigating our way through adversity. It is these tests in life that we truly find out about ourselves. It is also important to remember that we’re not going through this alone.
So, while I wouldn’t encourage enrolling in a 1940’s boarding school as a way of developing resilience, below are three little actions that we can implement:
1. Acknowledge the facts of current situation, but never lose hope that things will get better
2. Give a bit of love and compassion to someone in your life
3. Use this current Covid environment to be the defining story of your life.