Optimism is the art of always seeing the glass half full instead of half empty, finding something positive in even the most dire of situations and last but not least the ability to expect the best even if the chances are dim. It enables you to try new things , deal with failure as a learning experience versus a stopping point. In general Optimism gives you a reason to live. The world would be a better place if it was full of optimism, but unfortunately the trend in today’s youth is heading the opposite way . Today it is cool to be pessimistic. One could spend hours discussing how we arrived at this point, where our youth refuses to smell the roses and instead prefers to choke themselves on their own pessimistic outlooks.
Optimism is not an inherited gift but rather a learned behavior pattern. Like most behaviors optimism is best learned by watching examples, namely you. The first step in creating a generation of people with a positive outlook on life, is to exercise life on the bright side yourself. While it would be wrong to shelter your child from all negativity, it is important that you are not the source of doubts and worries. Finding something positive in a negative situation needs to be practiced. Show how to make the best of things by always pointing out the positive, by encouraging your child after a disappointment and by explaining over and over that failure is just a part of progress.
Giving your child the tools to success should start as early as possible. While a toddler may not understand a speech about making lemonade out of lemons they can very well learn how to be optimistic. Peek-a-boo is one of the first games to play to instill a positive outlook. It teaches your young, that things you do not see, can still be there. It instills trust that you will be there for them, even if you aren’t visible for a moment and that they will be okay even if they are alone, because alone is just a temporary physical state, emotionally they will never be alone because you will always be there thinking of them.
Sports, creative hobbies and cooking are also great ways to help your offspring along the way. They function as a confidence builder by showing that work, ambition and trying new things lead to success. It will put them in situations where they feel like they failed for a minute just to find out that they can learn from disappointment and mistakes and that this makes them better, at what they to do.
Inspire your child to surround themselves with optimistic people. Try to find an organization that your child enjoys being a part off whether it be scouts, church, sports teams or volunteer organization such as the voluntary fire department. Your goal should be to help them withstand negative peer pressure and the best way to do that is to give them a strong social net. A place where they can talk to peers and get the answers they need, common souls that will keep them on the straight and narrow and will push them to improve themselves and give their best.
With the teenage years comes puberty and most, if not all youth will at one point fall into depressive phases, some more severe than others. The worst thing you can do is to give in to negativity. Instead ensure your teen that you trust him or her and have confidence in them to achieve their goals no matter how high the stakes. Keep the lines of communications open but do not force conversations as this will only cause conflict. Trust in yourself and your prior preparation. Know that teenagers have to rebel against their parents, it is part of growing up. As long as your teen does not turn to drugs or other things harmful to their lives, stay positive yourself and trust that they will find their way. They need to know you believe in them even if they do not believe in themselves.
Being an optimist is a conscious decision much too few people make. By deciding to raise optimistic children you are taking on an important task. You are also in the process of making a better world for all. Not only are you preparing your children for a successful positive life but you are sowing the seeds to a bright future for generations to come.