How did we get here? This “place” we are in, where the expectation of every one is that all will be “happy” and sunshine and fun? It seems that we are seeing more depression and anger in our children than in any generation before us. Is this the result of that expectation? I do wonder about that. After all, has any generation before us been so insistent that life give us these things? Think about that. If we had sunshine 365 days a year, our world would die a very parched death. Wouldn’t we be better to teach our children to live a balanced life where there is both sunshine and rain?
It seems that it is only the past couple of decades in which depression has even been a diagnosis where children are concerned, and it is something that should be taken quite seriously when the possibility of it exists at all. I do believe it may be past time for us to look at what we are doing to our children, and to ourselves, when we put very unreal, and extreme expectations into our own lives and those for whom we are responsible. We expect little Johnny, or little Sally, to excel in school, or in sports or in beauty, dear God, and are we even thinking of what we are doing to them when we do this?
It seems past time to accept every person, child and adult, as they present themselves, and to love them without condition, right where they are. So Johnny only gets C’s, and little Sally is never going to be a prima ballerina, and maybe little Eddie is not the handsomest boy in his class. Is that child any less a human being, any less needful of love? I don’t think so, nor, perhaps, do you. Yet, in our ever more competitive world, we continue to place unreasonable expectations on both ourselves and our loved ones.
It is, in fact, this “expectation”, this need to create unreal goals in our lives, that is ruining the chance at any genuine happiness that might be available to any of us, anywhere. I am not saying that one should not have goals, however, I am saying that those goals need to be set in such a way that the person who sets them, or for whom they are set, does not feel that they are a complete failure if those goals are not met. It is not good when our children feel that they are “bad” when they do not meet our expectations. I am aware that this is a difficult adjustment to make. We want our youth to “behave” well around others, we want our lives to have some sense of order, something that is quite difficult when we have children that cannot live up to even moderate goals of behavior. I am also aware that we need to look at what is causing the misbehavior.
We cannot expect perfection of others if we cannot give it ourselves. And, I for one, have not yet found perfection within myself. That is my point. I want a life that is balanced, and even that is difficult at times to achieve, yet, with perseverance, and mindfulness that there are rainy days in all lives, and with a concentrated effort on ignoring all the hyper commercials, I can adjust my goals to reflect the reality of what I can do, not what I cannot. Perhaps those goals can also reflect what we can have, rather than what we cannot, and then, possibly, find the happiness that realistic goals can bring.