As if you needed further proof that Angelina Jolie is a perfect super-human sent to us from Planet Gorg-o-tron, the actress gave an incredibly lovely interview with Entertainment Weekly recently on her upcoming role in Maleficent. The conversation, as conversations with Jolie are wont to do, veered into the territory of her children and her role as a mother.
In the Q&A, Jolie gave some truly beautiful, rare advice that every parent ought to listen to -- and not just for their children, but for themselves.
When asked about the difference between a powerful woman and a bitch, Jolie had this to say: "My mother [Marcheline Bertrand, who died in 2007] was very soft and female and I was always very aware when things would happen and there would be fights with my father [actor Jon Voight]. She kept thinking she needed to get harder to deal with life and I kept saying I didn’t want her to do that—I would rather get hard and I’d rather fight. But it was really important that she stay kind and soft and open and sweet because it’s a horrible thing to have that. Have the world harden you."
It's such a hard thing to not allow the world to harden you and crush your spirit. And as parents, it's our job to give our children the tools to prevent this from happening as much to our ability as we can. Of course we don't want to constantly coddle our children, so they won't be equipped to deal with life's problems, but little kids don't need to "toughen up" to get used to the cold, harsh world. I hate when people say, "My mom did X to me when I was little and I'm fine." Yes, physically, we're all fine, but are we jaded? Cynical? Do we have a chip on our shoulder? Or do we often look on the bright side and have sunny dispositions? I don't know about you, but I'd prefer my daughter to be the latter.
There's only so much we can do as parents when it comes to our kids. We can't shelter them forever, and we can't stop bad things from happening to them. But we can teach them the importance of being "soft," as Jolie sweetly put it; that a bad day, or even a bad month, doesn't mean a bad life. I don't think it's naive to think that the world would be a much nicer place if our children were happy with open hearts. Love this advice.
What's the best advice you ever received about being a parent?
Image via Jason Merritt/Getty