Being subjected to the unforgiving public is tough, but watching your children navigate their way through the criticism is an entirely different thing.
With both son, Jaden, and daughter, Willow, making forays into the entertainment world, Will Smith has had to watch as the siblings have faced some harsh words from critics and online commentators alike for some of their methods of expression.
In a recent interview with Esquire, Smith says the pair are learning to adjust to all that comes with being in the spotlight:
“With this generation of kids growing up, the technological battering is almost the norm. They generally avoid the stuff. They’re really well-adjusted around this business and understanding the nature of having to take a battering. It’s a brutal world out there for young people, for everybody. Willow had one moment. The Young Turks are Willow’s idol. They have a TV show online. They’re like a really powerful group of young writers, hosts, and political commentators. Willow loves the Young Turks, and that was the only moment I saw her cry. Other than that, she’s really well-adjusted with it. And Jaden understands that that’s a part of this business. If he wants to do it, there’s a certain amount of battery that you have to be willing to live through. We have a quote that I put up in the house from Pema Chödrön: ‘Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.’ We call it leaning into the sharp parts. Something hurts, lean in. You just lean into that point until it loses its power over you. There’s a certain amount of suffering that you have to be willing to sustain if you want to have a good life. And the trick is to be able to sustain it with your heart open and still be loving. That is the real trick,” he said.
Smith’s next film, Focus, hits theaters nationwide on Feb. 27.