The Daily Groove


Goodness Is Inspired, Not Required

Situation 1:
You ask your friend what she wants for a birthday gift, and she says, "I would treasure any gift from you!"

Wouldn't you feel inspired to give her something very special?

Situation 2:
Another friend says, "I hope you're getting me something good for my birthday... I just hate tacky gifts!"

Wouldn't you feel like giving this friend a pile of fake dog poop?! :)

The point is that you feel most inspired to please others when you don't feel pressured or coerced — when you don't "have to."

Children are no different. They love to please others, especially their parents, so long as their inspiration to share pleasure isn't confounded by implied threats of punishment, reward, or withdrawal of approval.

Today, let go of all "required goodness" by affirming that your child is inherently good, and is free to express that goodness... and free not to express it.

Remember that the best way to foster children's authentic goodness is to let them see how much you enjoy expressing your own goodness.

Re: Goodness Is Inspired, Not Required

This is just what I needed to hear today!!! I wrote on a message board yesterday asking for thoughts on what to do when my children are so rude to each other most of the time. It is very hard to hear them and see them treating each other so badly, though. Do you have an "concrete" ideas on how to affirm that the kids are inherently good (other than my own example...because I'm already on top of that)?

Re: Goodness Is Inspired, Not Required

First we have to agree on the meaning of goodness, which I conveniently omitted above...

One's inherent goodness, as I understand it, has little to do with common notions of "good" behavior, niceness, or scrupulousness.

We feel our children's authentic goodness when we love them unconditionally. And unconditional love is, by definition, not dependent on behavior.

To me, the fact that anything exists is a miracle! Therefore existence is good. Therefore YOU are good for no other reason than that you exist!

Your children themselves are the concrete affirmations of their goodness. Their "rude" behavior makes their existence (and thus their goodness) more obvious. You'll know you've mastered this concept when their rudeness makes you feel mostly love and appreciation for their existence... even as you take steps to inspire them toward more emotionally intelligent expressions of their goodness. :)