Day 76: Kind Kids
“When you compliment your children, praise them for inner qualities such as kindness, honesty and perseverance so they will strive to contribute to the world in meaningful ways.” – Tony Schutta
On Wednesday afternoons I teach yoga to school age children. I begin each class with a community circle. The community circle is a time to share and connect through a subject or theme that I present to the class. Today, I asked them to share about what makes them strong on the inside and what makes them strong on the outside. They immediately started flexing their biceps, but once they refocused, I received some very interesting and thoughtful answers from the children. Many of them said their bravery made them strong on the inside. One particular boy shared that he receives his inner strength from a sense of freedom that his ancestors fought for. Another boy shared that his inner strength comes from his sister reassuring him when he is frightened. Most of the children said their outer strength comes from the love they receive from their family.
It is so beautiful and moving to see how innocent and wise these children are. It reminded me of how children have an innate ability to see things, experience life, and understand things in a simple yet profound way without the heaviness that most adults carry with them. What I continue to learn from working with young children, is that in many ways they are wiser and much more in alignment with the true meanings of life. I think what derails most of us from that innocence and wisdom, is the tendency to look outside of ourselves for answers as well as our tendency to praise achievements that we can see rather than the ones that we feel and experience. Meaning, we praise our children and others for being the “best,” winning at a sport, achieving good grades, having a beautiful house or awesome job. However, we do not spend enough time praising the inner qualities and achievements that contribute to kindness towards ourselves, others, strangers, and the world at large. Somewhere along the journey, most sweet, loving and kind children become busy, stressed, unhappy, and unkind adults. How can we as individuals and as a culture and society keep the innate kindness and wisdom we are born with and grow it?
Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com and The Very Kind Filip George