If I could give you one thing my child, it would be optimism. In todays’ world of high anxious children, high crime rates and pressure at school, if I could give you one thing it would be eternal optimism and hope. Hope for a better future, hope for a better world, hope to make a difference.
It’s the one of the things I am grateful for the most in my life. The tendency to always see a glass half full so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I do stress about things, but I know in life, you have to deal with things as they come. There is no point in worrying yourself sick about something until you are actually dealing with it. Since I was a young child, my two motto’s have been “The worst that can happen is they say no” and “just keep swimming”. Being optimistic about things gives you courage and confidence. It lifts you up and raises those around you.
It starts with us.
The way a parent talks and reacts to problems and stresses around them often become a child’s inner voice. Children are like sponges when they are experiencing the world around them. Behaviour is modeled off their parents or key care givers and their reactions are learnt. By being an optimistic parent you will handle situations more successfully, but it will also help your child do the same
The world needs optimists now more than ever.
The belief that a single individual can make a change. The belief and self-belief that EVERY person matters. The belief that they are someone!
But how do you go about raising an optimist?
- The first – and I think I have my Dad to thank for this, is QUIT COMPLAINING. Be aware of the words you use around you children, they pick up on your anxiousness and worry more than you possibly know. “We’re never going to get a parking”, “We are always running late”, By focusing on negative thoughts and frustrations you are bound to raise a pessimist. The more your kids hear you moaning about your day at work, or the stress of life, the more they will do the same thing. I’m not saying “shelter” them, but be aware of the WAY you react to your daily stressors. Broken Geyser? Its not the end of the world, yes you may have one cold shower which is an inconvenience, but there are worse things that could happen.
- Give them responsibility – Kids won’t develop an optimistic, “can-do” attitude unless they have the opportunity to prove their worth. Entrusting our kids to complete tasks makes them feel capable and gives them a chance to feel proud. From the age of 2 children can pick up their own toys, put dirty clothes in the wash etc. Get them involved and see how seriously they take their assigned tasks. Its the cutest thing.
- Curb the negative self talk – Children are naturals at this, especially once they enter the primary school years. I often hear phrases like “I cant do it” or “Im not big enough”. Its our job as parents to lift them up. I’m not saying offer false praise, because that may erode their trust in you. First empathize, hear them and listen. Then work on small bits “what do you think you did right”, “how do you think you can do better next time”. Help them focus on a solution rather then the problem.
- Encourage humour – If your kids can see you approaching life with a little humour and the ability to see things with a lighter heart it can help them not take themselves so seriously.
- Love – love, love and more love. Strong love, soft love, tough love. Even when we are disciplining them, try to discipline with love. By that, I mean explanations. Explain clearly as to why they are being disciplined and the importance of it.
Optimism is a critical skill for happiness, health and success. It creates resilience and helps combat anxiety and depression. It brings hope, for a fresh new start.
I pray that you always see the world for its beauty, for its good. To see yourself through my eyes. You are amazing, always remain pure. Always have hope.
— Hope is a powerful weapon, and (one) no one power on earth can deprive you of— Nelson Mandela