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Good is better than evil, that’s what I’ve been told since childhood. It has become a paradigm for my existence for as far as I could remember. But have you ever thought as we grow older, the lines started to blur. Then it becomes difficult to judge a situation or action whether it’s good or evil. When it comes to positive parenting, I feel children should be taught to do good anyway, regardless of the fact that they will eventually have to do evil deeds and cross grey lines. The reason being that it sets their perspective to do things that makes them feel good and whenever they feel low, demoralized they’d be equipped to pick themselves up and get going.
Teach them to do good anyway
The fact of the matter is, no one has ever taught us how to deal with the “blur” as I call it (you may call it reality). And once it hits us, our paradigm changes and we feel disillusioned. That’s when all the psychopaths, terrorists, racists, mass murderer, and rapists are born. Just kidding! No, really, that’s when we have to make the difficult decision to choose between good or evil. What is a youthful, positively charged individual to do?
Kent Keith who’s written a book titled The Silent Revolution tells us about this kind of experience as follows:
“I saw a lot of idealistic young people go out into the world to do what they thought was right, and good, and true, only to come back a short time later, discouraged, or embittered, because they got negative feedback, or nobody appreciated them, or they failed to get the results they had hoped for.” – Dr. Kent Keith
And that is the moment where you, as the parents jump in, and do your bit of positive parenting. You need to assure them that all is not finished. Life goes on. Evil and good dwell side by side, and we all have to learn to live with it.
Teach them to empathize anyway
“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway” according to Dr. Keith. If you teach children to live the fairy tale life, that people are jolly good like Santa Clause, and the big bad wolf should be killed then they’ll grow up always having the same perspective – there is ONLY good in this world. But that’s not true, is it?
On the other hand, if we teach them that there are good, bad, illogical, self-centered and all sorts of people living in this world together because each have their own reasons for doing what they do, they’ll empathize with others more readily.
In her book, Teaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion, Tonia Caselman encourages parents to teach children to step into others shoes to empathize with them, and to create a sense of social emotional connection. Take this notion a step further by teaching children to value other’s feelings, their deformity, racial or religious differences and personal behavior, and learn to live with each other in a more tolerant manner, and you’ll have a winner coming up.
Positive parenting with Paradoxical Commandments
As parents we’re always anxious how our children will turn out and handle their own life’s fears, and this anxiety keeps on growing as they grow older and become detached from us. We may not be able to make all decision for them in their adult lives, and be there at every step but we can teach them how to think good thoughts, be positive about themselves and others, and make decisions which impact their lives positively.
Here are the Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Keith for you to begin with. Use them as a starting point and expand by adding your own commandments. Don’t forget to share them with us!