Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happiness and Kindness: what is important?

I'd love you to read this article (link at the end of the post), written on a subject that is very close to my heart. Loving a child is a difficult process, being caught between that fierce sense of protectiveness and the desire to have the small person grow up into a compassionate, useful, loving member of a healthy society.

It can be particularly hard for new parents, or parents of only children, because when the child is very young they are still in the developmental phase of seeing the world as revolving completely around them. As they move out of that phase and start to empathize and understand the concept of other people being equally valid as human beings, they run into problems of perspective. What is fair? What is kind? It's crucial that as the child emerges into the new developmental phase we allow them to learn. If we continue to insist that nothing interferes with their sense of primary entitlement and importance, we stunt their development. Of course it's not an either/or situation. All of us try to encourage empathy as well as try to give our child affirming, joyful experiences. But where does joy really come from? Getting that trophy whether you deserve it or not? Or finding a way to relieve another person's suffering? Let's find the deeper, richer ways to find and affirm our children's sense of presence in the world. What do you think?

Click here for the New York Times article.

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