Underdogs. Resilience. Choice.

I admire people who make come backs after huge losses.

I admire people who went through some seemingly impossible-to-survive storm then used that storm as motivation to grow and get better.

I admire people who have suffered yet somehow managed to keep their faith strong anyway.

I admire people who supported someone else through a grave illness and still managed to hold themselves up.

I admire people who didn’t let verbal abuse, physical pain, or mind-twisting mental games cripple them into forever submission.

I admire people who deprived themselves so others could have, who threw themselves into harm’s way to save another, or who sacrificed others could thrive.

I admire resilience. I’m for the underdog. I’m for warriors and fighters. I’m for not giving up or settling. I’m for never backing down and letting evil win. I’m for digging deep and pushing through. I’m for exhausting all options before giving up. I’m for less whining and more trying.

We always have a choice. The only way to the other side is through.

Y’all, I’m not sure our kids get it.

Every harsh circumstance, every struggle, every trauma are all now deemed to affect mental health adversely. The world is teaching them to identify and claim the disorder that best aligns with the symptoms from the struggle. The world is teaching them to “cope” rather than heal. The world is teaching them that things happen TO THEM. And it’s teaching them that they have the ability to choose things, but not necessarily the right things, to make them healthy, stable, productive humans.

The world IS NOT teaching them to confront struggle head on. It IS NOT teaching them that you won’t always be comfortable and accommodated. It IS NOT teaching them that hard times are inevitable. It IS NOT teaching them that we don’t have to immediately be defined by our thoughts and emotions. It IS NOT teaching them to root for the underdog, look for the helpers, or commend the real heroes.

A small example…my kids recall chaos, confusion, and uncertainty when my husband had colon cancer and a few failed surgeries in 2015. They have never really put any of that into perspective. I’ve had to teach them to see that we plowed through a terrible season of life with faith and ultimately kicked butt. They failed to see us as vikings, as a husband and wife clinging to each other to live, as a mom and dad battling to make it for their children. I’ve had to teach them that we chose to fight not fold, that Daddy was a warrior, and I committed to being his warrior caregiver. I’ve had to teach them that, yes, we were victims of a harsh disease, victims of a doctor who botched a surgery, and the recipients of poor healthcare service, but that we chose NOT to be victims at all.

Can we please get back to cheering for the underdog? Can we stop creating victims? Can we encourage the ability to choose better? Can we motivate each other to fight instead of just cope? Can resilience make a comeback? Can we wedge ourselves between the world and our kids to become the louder voice of reason?

I pray we always remember that we have the ability to choose. I pray we always have the presence of mind to make a conscious, deliberate choice to want better, to want more, to heal, to rise above, to achieve, despite any and all challenges.

I pray that we continue to lift up those who struggle. I pray we encourage each other to fight and have faith. I pray we always look for the helpers, praise caregivers, and revere the heroes.

Most of all, I pray we dedicate ourselves to teaching our kids that they have the ability to choose…and that they choose strength, grit, and empowerment over giving up or victimhood.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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