The Absolute Value of Your Child

by Scott Noelle

If you were forced to study algebra when you were a teenager, it probably didn’t occur to you that it would one day come in handy as a metaphor for unconditional love. But here it is...

In mathematics, the “absolute value” of a number is its magnitude regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. So the numbers +50 and -50 have the same absolute value: 50.

Likewise, practicing the Art of Unconditionality often means disregarding the negative interpretations of a condition or behavior and finding a way to see it in a positive light. For example:

  • Whether your child says “I love you” or “I hate you,” you can appreciate the magnitude of her expressiveness and emotional honesty.
  • Whether your child rebels or complies with your wishes, you can appreciate his absolute freedom of choice.

Improve Your Groove

Today as you observe your child, if you see any “negative” behavior then ask yourself, “What is this telling me about the ‘absolute value’ of my child?”

Originally published on 2006-07-13
Share It !