I have a theory. My theory is that there is an inverse relationship between status/power/rank and open demonstrations of good will. (When I was an engineer we spoke gleefully about inverse relationships as if they were the best kind to have.) In short, the higher we climb in life (status, power, rank) the less we see open kindness within that “elite” community. Life becomes more dog eat dog, me versus you, and good will between competitors (those other leaders in the corporate, non-profit, sports world, or anyone deemed as “on the opposing team”) can be difficult to find. Good will may look like weakness to some, but of course, the opposite is true. However, this notion of weakness can make it more difficult for our young people to understand that good will can be part of a viable success strategy. Plus, it’s free. Doesn’t cost you a dime.
Remember when you were little and learned about George Washington chopping down his father’s precious cherry tree, and then fessing up? This lesson was shared so that we, as kids, wouldn’t tell a lie. I think 200 years from now, in some Ancient American History course, a teacher will tell kids about a Little Big Man and proclaim, “He wouldn’t let anything stop him.” Kids will say, “I won’t let anything stop me, either!”
Remember when you were young and playing with friends and a situation came up where there was tension and fear? Maybe you were double-daring one another to do something. Typically, someone said, “You go first!” Going first takes courage.
The drive for perfection in raising something as mercurial as a child is, as Brene Brown put it, “seductive and dangerous.” Parenting is an emotional wrestling match between love, expectations, fear, hope, frustration, doubt, comparison (what is her child doing?) and self-worth (which depends on the success of my child!)
Have you ever lost that certain spark, that eternal flame of energy for what you love to do, or even whom you love, only to find that a connection with another person or place or experience reignites it? Suddenly, that eternal flame is reborn with new energy, new purpose, new meaning. If you’ve been on Earth for any length of time at all, you likely know what I mean. Even better is to realize that you can be that same spark for others.