Goodness Is Inspired, Not Required

by Scott Noelle

Situation 1:
You ask your friend what she wants for a birthday gift, and she says, “I would treasure any gift from you!”

Wouldn’t you feel inspired to give her something very special?

Situation 2:
Another friend says, “I hope you’re getting me something good for my birthday... I just hate tacky gifts!”

Wouldn’t you feel like giving this friend a pile of fake dog poop?! :)

The point is that you feel most inspired to please others when you don’t feel pressured or coerced — when you don’t “have to.”

Children are no different. They love to please others, especially their parents, so long as their inspiration to share pleasure isn’t confounded by implied threats of punishment, reward, or disapproval.

Improve Your Groove

Today, let go of all “required goodness” by affirming that your child is inherently good, and is free to express that goodness... and free not to express it.

Remember that the best way to foster children’s authentic goodness is to let them see how much you enjoy expressing your own goodness.

Originally published on 2006-12-01
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