"If you could teach one set of skills to every child in the world, what would it be?
This is how a web blog post I saw began, and so I was intrigued.
It's called "19 Practical, Powerful Ways to Build Social-Emotional Intelligence in Kids & Teens." I've turned the title into a link, so just click on it to read it in full.
I often use links, quotes and full articles from other people to help drive my points across, simply because I believe there is a lot of power in multiple opinions that are derived from common sense, pragmatism and the desire to make our world better.
Many parents jokingly (but truthfully) say "I'm glad my child acts wonderfully in your home because we see a bear in ours!"
I have another friend who, although she agrees kids need a place to truly be themselves when they really need to give off steam, also says that "Kindness and how you go out into the world begins at home."
To that end, I fully support the blog post I mention above (from a blogger named Karen Young, whose tagline for her blog site "Hey Sigmund" is: "Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human").
Essentially, our world would be a better place if we trained our children - and us parents - to better understand not only ourselves but other people, too.
It's the idea of being mindful that if we teach ourselves to have the best interests of all in mind at all times, we can literally make the world a better place by having a strong basis in acknowledging our own needs and those of others in order to realistically compromise, negotiate, lead, follow, build up others, maintain ourselves and create strong meaningful bonds with other people or at the very least be able to coexist peacefully.
Young's words reflect things we may already know, but for some reason don't employ in our daily lives.
Our culture is so full of those who feel outcast, demeaned, unsatisfied, ignored and exploited, not to mention those who feel hateful, resentful, angry, destructive and entitled.
The latter set of feelings drives many to the point of violence against others - often people they don't even know - in road rage, public shootings or other violence. Or violence against ourselves - many public shootings also involve suicides, and in general, the number of suicides in all age groups is rising.
According to the Washington Post, suicide rates have risen in all but one state since 1999, and the increases are among all ages, genders, races and ethnicities. The are many possible reasons for this increase as explained in this article "Suicide Rates Rise Sharply Across the U.S."
I wish I wasn't reading, hearing or seeing more news stories about shootings, suicides, wars, and sharp divisions over so many issues - I don't want to dwell on it - but it's always in front of us.
I have to think Young has a point - maybe we CAN change the world by thinking about our place in it, how we view life, ourselves and others.
It gets down to the basics of what makes us feel human and feel valued. Again, I think Young says it best. She emphasizes how the following have impacts:
- The Words we use Daily
- Modeling the "imperfection" of being human, but always making strides for better
- Agreeing to Disagree - but Still Listening
- Sharing Feelings - Without Trying To Change Others - And Paying Attention To What Feelings Tell Us
- Building Relationships - And Exactly How To Do That
- Modeling Forgiveness and Responsibility
Does it sound like I'm over-simplifying our country's and the world's problems by drawing out such a simple list?
What if I'm not?
I do believe whole-heartedly that these very big problems facing us start from smaller beginnings.
I'm not diminishing other's experiences; I realize that mental health, the economy, physical health and a world that is often grossly unfair to underprivileged people is real.
All too often though, I hear of friends of mine who have done missionary work in extremely poor areas, and how satisfied the people are - kind, warm and appreciative. How can this be?
I know my own father, a Depression-era child who fought in World War II and was a rock for his family was one of the most satisfied people I'd ever known had a life perspective that was always seeking goodness. Even in the despair of a cancer diagnosis, and ultimately, death.
There seems to be something to how we view the world, our circumstances and our place in it - and how we can all get along in it.
I'm encouraged by Young's post because I don't want to feel powerless and overwhelmed by the horrible news that comes daily; so I'll take a dose of hope and inspiration. Thank you, Karen Young.
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
~ Jack Layton, BrainyQuote.com.
NOTE: I wrote this and just saw that today is "World Kindness Day" on social media. I am pleased to have made a connection here that I didn't even realize. Perhaps every day should be "World Kindness Day."
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