For many children, the holiday season is a great time of joy and delight. It is easy to feel optimistic when the days are peppered with parties where gifts and treats are abundant. But, what about the ability to engage in the art of happiness during the other, less celebratory, part of the year?
One of the most important duties of raising global children is to help them develop an optimistic outlook on life. Learning how to maintain a positive attitude is key to a child’s future and the well-being of the planet.
Optimism means being of the mindset that bad things are not persistent, but only temporary, limited and manageable. Having a positive attitude empowers kids by helping them realize that bad things sometimes happen, but that those things do not control future outcomes. Optimistic people know that choices can be made to affect change. They are filled with hope and are able to collaborate and create because they can see the potential in the world.
Conversely, pessimistic people have a hard time being productive. They don’t create much because they are pre-occupied with negativity.
If global kids are brought up to understand that we live in a world with more opportunity, hope, and promise than ever before, they will grow into positive-minded, productive adults who are inspired to work with others to create solutions for problems regarding societal issues, the economy, and the environment.
4 Ways to Teach Kids Optimism & Joy
(1) Help kids find opportunities to volunteer and to do charitable work -not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year. This kind of activity helps to empower children to affect positive change in their communities which can collectively result in global change. When kids view themselves as positive changemakers, and they can begin to develop an optimistic attitude that they will carry with them throughout their lives.
VolunteerMatch.org is an excellent resource for seeking out local opportunities with nonprofits and causes that appeal to the volunteer’s particular interests whether it be animal shelters or advocacy and human rights.
(2) Help your child find joy in everyday things: Being wrapped in a warm towel fresh from the dryer after a shower on a cold morning; Finding a new book by a favorite author at the library; Stargazing and spotting constellations on a clear crisp night. Make a point of acknowledging the awesomeness of simple things encountered throughout the day – like the unusual color of a pebble found in the park, or the vast ripply cloud formations at sunset.
(3) Laugh with your child everyday: Moods improve with humor and laughter which adds happiness to the daily grind. When you and your child laugh together, it’s a bonding experience and will help create lifelong joyful memories.
(4) Model optimism: If you want to help your child become more optimistic, let him see you choosing to be optimistic in the face of adversity. When you encounter a setback, react in a way that demonstrates a perception that the setback is temporary, isolated and that it can be overcome. Modeling this attitude will help your child understand that he can choose to be optimistic and perceive problems as opportunities.
Wishing you and your global kids a happy season and joyful new year!