True Grit

Freeing the Angel

I like to think of myself as a resilient person. There’s not much that upsets me. I have no particular fear of what others say or think about me, my teaching or my books. I can bounce back from knockdowns with a smile on my face. And so, I’ve been trying to work out why all this talk of ‘instilling character’ makes me so uncomfortable. Why the term ‘resilience’ makes me grind my teeth. Because it does, and over the years I’ve learned that it is important (to me, at least) to take my instinctive reactions into account.

When I think back to my own childhood, it’s pretty easy to identify the things that toughened me up, that made me resilient in later life. And none of them are things that I would wish on my own children, or on anyone else’s. One was the messy breakdown of my parents’…

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