$5 Billion – that is the estimated amount that American families pay to involve their children in sports activities each year. This amount does not reflect the cost of equipment, travel, time, and disruption to family life. This number does illustrate the importance parents place on the physical development of their children; the desire for their kids to compete and grow athletically. But what about the internal development of their children – the cultivation of their character and their heart? What value do we place on that?
We live in a world where lack of integrity and corroded character leave their mark on every aspect of our daily lives. We all pay for the greed, corruption, waste, and deception of others. We want a better world for ourselves and our children, but what are we doing to guide and guard their young hearts? We have existed so long without true attention to issues of the heart and soul that we are becoming a mutated expression of compassionate humanity… We forget that we are all connected as one human family. We teach our young, by example, to win at any cost. We elevate the success of the one over the mutual benefit of all. We deaden our hearts and pursue our own interests to the neglect of our families. We are so disconnected from the heart that we now see our own children killing their schoolmates. So what can be done about it?
You Can Parent With the Nest in Mind
We want to give you some practical effective ways to begin to cultivate a healthy internal life for your children. At Save Goodness we know that the only way we can preserve Goodness is to encourage people to care for the place where Goodness is born – the human heart. We call your internal life, your home within – your “nest”. This is the place where your heart lives.
In this nest there are things that help you thrive or “Good twigs,” and there are things that tear you down or “toxic twigs.” The environment that you create for your own heart and the hearts of your children is vital to their development as people of strong character and integrity. There are four key needs for the development of a healthy nest: Beauty, Trueness, Love, and Life-Giving Things. Here are simple ways you can direct your children to absorb these things.
For your heart to thrive it must have beauty. Beauty reminds us that there is something powerful, creative, mysterious, and truly good at work behind the scenes. It brings hope and encouragement to our hearts. It keeps us in touch with what is true and real. Help your children begin to notice beauty everywhere you go. Look in common and unexpected places and find the beauty in simple things. Stop and pay attention. Teach them daily that beauty matters. Play the Beautiful Thing Game. If you train your children when they are young to see beauty, they will carry this skill with them for the rest of their life.
Trueness is knowing what is real and true and responding to it accordingly. So much of our modern world is constructed around images, advertisements, games, and propaganda that is not real. It becomes harder and harder to decipher what is true and what is fabricated. A distorted world impacts our perceptions and before long we are unsure what is real and true about ourselves and others. This leads to a subtle sense of confusion and instability. We recommend beginning with a good assessment of what is real and true about yourself. Help your children maintain an honest and true assessment of themselves. Encourage them and build them up, but base it on what you truly see in them. Teach them to love honesty and to love the real person that they are. When trueness is at work in our lives we will be confronted with things about us that need to change, but the change comes much more quickly and easily if we see ourselves as we really are. Here is a useful list of Trueness Questions (509) designed for your kids that will help you to help them know themselves – truly.
Love is the water of life. We must have it to survive. It is necessary to build a healthy happy human. Love is fluid, yet it changes states just like water. Sometimes love flows softly and easily like a stream, other times it is in the atmosphere of our home like a vapor that you naturally draw in. Still other times love must be solid and unmoving like ice. Love accomplishes so many things in our lives. We must learn to give it and receive it. For children, love is communicated in simple ways. Here are a few suggestions: know by heart the things they like, laugh and giggle with them, look them in the eyes, stop what you are doing to be with them, plan special events, hug them often, teach them to show others love and appreciation. Check out this excellent post from Babble Kids for some great ideas on simple ways to let kids know you care!
We all need to identify the things that are Life-Giving to us. Often these things first appear when we are children. A love of art, music, sports, or writing may show up early. It is important to maintain these interests even if we cannot make a living doing them. Life-Giving things inspire us and lift our souls. They give us a sense of the dignity of being human – the beauty and wonder of creating. Pay special attention to your child’s interests. Support them in the things that they love. Teach them the importance of cultivating these things in their lives. A life lived with passion and inspiration is a life worth living. You already know that if you do not cultivate these Life-Giving things in your life then the days will pass and you can feel that you have nothing to show for them. Help your child become a person who lives from their heart.
It may be that in helping your kids you will help yourself. The best way to teach your children is by doing these things yourself! Honor your own heart! Give it a good dose of Beauty, Trueness, Love, and Life-Giving Things every day. It is an investment with outstanding returns.
”There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela
The heart of a child... what is it worth? Follow these Good Ideas to invest in the heart of your child.