The Sunny Side of Life

Posted by Linda

How do you teach your children optimism? Maybe watching Pollyanna, who was extraordinarily optimistic, made too much of an impression on me when I was a little girl. However, I am an optimist and am grateful for it. There are so many situations in life that are not under our control and we do not know what will happen. So we have a choice, in my mind, to spend our days in doom and gloom thinking that whatever the situation is , it will turn out poorly, or we can appreciate each minute, looking for the beauty that exists. Granted, the choice to feel optimistic is not at all easy and we all fall into spaces where we only see the dark side of things, but we can choose to bring ourselves back to a better state of mind. My choice is to appreciate what I can and see beauty, even when things are stressful and gloomy. I always remember what the Dalai Lama said about falling off his center. We kind of expect that someone with that level of enlightenment would never lose balance, but that isn’t so. He says that he falls off his center maybe a hundred times a day, but he brings himself back to a better place of equilibrium.

How do we teach our children to maintain an overall state of optimism. Practicing optimism ourselves seems to me to be the most appropriate way. It is important not to give in to an illusion about how carefree and happy go lucky we are, but create systems for problem solving and emphasize that we are losing everything if we stay in a place of worry, fear and stress. I don’t believe that in that place, our brains work effectively to do some creative thinking so that we can change whatever situation that we are in.

These are the kinds of skills I want my children to learn, adaptability, creativity, and a positive look to the future. Let’s not forget the importance of resilience, the ability to bounce back. Sometimes everything is overwhelming and seemingly impossible, but to stay in the same place is not much of a choice either. There is a lot of work to do, within ourselves and for the future of our land around the world. We can only do one thing at a time.

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