Today is the day of love. Love truly is what makes the world a better place. Love on all levels really should be celebrated every day. Love your children, love your friends, love your neighbours. Love yourself. We celebrate the good in all those we care about. But do you take the time to love those things in yourself that are undeniably good? Why does sharing joy and accomplishments and things one is happy about still make people uncomfortable? Why then do we instill in our children that self confidence is good if we’re just going to dash it later or throw it away as adults?!
As parents those of us with children know how important it is to build a child’s self esteem. To acknowledge and praise those things in them that are good. Not only the things they do but the people they are and the kindnesses they show? At what point is it that we suddenly decide in our own lives we shouldn’t feel good about those things? There is nothing glorious or joyous in false humility or bashing down joy and happiness at accomplishing things. Doesn’t that truly work opposite to what love is?
When I watch my children and their reactions to each other when one does something well the reactions are different with the age. My youngest two who are not yet in school, find joy and happiness in each others accomplishments. My older two, they feel badly when their sibling accomplishes things that they don’t. Whether it’s something we would expect of them or not.
Perhaps it is the stage they are at in their development. Perhaps it is the age that they can’t quite grasp the sense of what empathy is. Perhaps it is the way schools pit students against other students. It is this stage that we as parents really have to focus on building up our children.
I have always heard empathy talked about in terms of sadness. As in feeling badly for a person when they’re sad or have gone through something terrible. But where is our empathy in joy, love and happiness? Why do people feel threatened by that? I guess we can really only teach empathy in joy, love and happiness by modelling it to our children.
Perhaps instead of utilizing competition to better grades and performance at schools they could teach them to motivate by positive reinforcement? Or is that too much to ask? In thinking about that, two incidents come to mind about honesty and having compassion for another student. Neither of those two things were recognized by my son’s teacher or the principal to me or to him. I actually wrote in his planner about it and still nothing. But, I am truly fortunate that there is a lady at their school and I mean a lady in every sense of the word who recognized his honesty and made a big deal about it. Shouldn’t we be starting there to build that sense of empathy in the positive aspects of life? Why don’t we teach admiration at school? Right along with compassion? Why do we minimize success and the success of others as human beings to the point that it hinders our children and us as adults?
We may need to stretch our comfort level a bit. Grow and learn. We ask our children to do that everyday, why shouldn’t we?
Something to think about educators and many parents! Or would that be too uncomfortable? Building empathy in joy,love and happiness. What a beautiful place that would be! Love is the one unlimited source of energy we have. There are no limits on how much joy and happiness we can share and it’s the one thing that no matter who you are or how old you are makes you feel wonderful! Think about it!
©Adrienne McLeod 2011