Are You Negatively Influencing Your Children (or the Younger Generation) With Your Attitude?

 

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image by williammarlow

 

I recently wrote a post on medium, Let the Caterpillar Die, and shared it on various social media. It created bit of a discussion in one of the groups.

The post is about accepting life’s changes, letting go of the old so  you can embrace the new. The discussion included some comments which I find to be very negative outlook of life, of progress, of the human behaviour. 

The point one commenter made is valid, that the proof of our progress is in the weapons of mass destructions, famine, poverty, and greed. 

But is it all there is? 

Without progress, we would not be here, reaching out to each other across continents, communicating instantly. Without progress, we would not have the freedom to pursue the careers we want. Without progress, we would not be able to develop medicines that has prolonged life to the extent that most people live until they are 70. 

Yes, I am aware that the same opportunities are not available to everyone across the world. I am also aware that there is unthinkable amount of suffering in this world. 

But, I am also aware that there are more opportunities now than ever before. I am aware that there is much joy, kindness and hope to be found. 

None of us alone are going to solve all of humanity’s problems. I don’t believe they can ever be eradicated completely, because that would be utopia, which with the existence of free will is unlikely. But that is an article for another day.

The point I want to make today is this: if you choose to focus on everything that is wrong with the world, what kind of message are you passing onto your children? To the younger generation? Perhaps it would be something like this:

Just look how shit this world is, and shut up about your happy land. Never mind your cheeriness you young-non-cynical-idealist, just look at the starving children, and commiserate with us instead of trying to make things better in your small way. 

This is important, particular for people who don’t have children. You think you have no responsibility, because you are not raising a child. You are not passing down any values. But you are. If you are in a profession where you get to mentor or advise younger people, you are in that position. If you are using social media as a platform for your opinions, you are influencing people who may be of any age. Sure, you could say it’s not your responsibility. Well in that case, you are contributing to the shittiness of the world. 

What do you do when your child tells you they want to be a musician, or a writer, or a movie star? Do you tell them to be realistic, pick a career that can pay the bills, or do you tell them to follow their dreams?

What do you do when someone is enthusiastic about their plans to ace their exams, or start a new business? Do you tell them about chances of failure?

What do you do when someone is head over heels in love, and dreaming with open eyes? Do you tell them to be careful, and give them statistics of divorce? 

You cannot fix the world immediately. You cannot completely eliminate prejudices, unfairness, and sheer cruelty that exists. You cannot change every human heart. 

Therefore, don’t focus on what you cannot do. Focus instead on what you can do.

You can choose to be a better person. You can ensure that you never prejudice against someone because of their colour, race, or any part of their upbringing that they have no control over. You can ensure that you never treat someone with cruelty or unfairness. You can ensure that you deliberately don’t hurt people. You can ensure that you contribute positively in this world, in whatever way you can. You can make someone feel better with a genuine smile, or a heart-felt compliment.

There is enough cynicism in the world. There is enough negativity (watch any news channel). There is enough misery. 

Yes it is important to make people aware of the sufferings of others. But what’s more important is to take action that attempts to  balance the scales. You may not change the world, you may not help all the starving children, but if you influence one life, that is enough. 

That is what great teachers and mentors (parents, writers, leaders in their  fields etc.) have done through centuries. They may not have changed the world themselves, but they have influenced those who do. 

Who are you going to be? 

Are you going to be a person that influences the next generation to be more cynical and negative, or are you going to be a person who tells them to go for their dreams and make this world a better place?

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Pay attention to your current attitude. How much negativity comes out of your mouth? How are you unintentionally influencing your children or the people around you?

Do you think you need to change? How? 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Are You Negatively Influencing Your Children (or the Younger Generation) With Your Attitude?

  1. One of the number one ways that my journal helps me is that every time I am stuck in a negative situation, I use my journal to get the negative out of me but I also remind myself of the positives. I use this in so many different situations and it’s one of the reasons many of my friends always comment on how optimistic I am. Journaling both sides helps me keep things in perspective, figure out what I can change and how to work with what I can’t change.
    Focusing on the positives is very hard when dealing with people who just insist on being negative, but that’s another spot where writing both down helps. I am an empath, so I am very easily able to feel what others are feeling and this is difficult when working with negative people. By writing down both the negatives and positives, I can see that I like thinking in the positive better and not let the negatives emotions or thoughts of another influence my thoughts or emotions. Writing keeps me grounded in that sense.

  2. Thank you for this reminder… for me to focus on what we can do, and on the positive instead of the negative. I find that my default is often the negative, or the restrictions, rather than the positive and the possibilities.

    In my last job I did my best to be a good leader, and I helped more than a dozen people develop Leadership qualities, and moving into Leadership positions of their own. However I was reminded by them that I was seeing the negative side of things, and that always made me so happy that I had chosen people who were willing to challenge me, and tell me what I needed to hear even though I was the boss.

    I was constantly telling my whole team that whether they wanted it, or realized it, every one of them was influencing the people around them… they just had to decide what kind of influence they wanted to be.

    I still struggle with seeing the negatives, and luckily my honey reminds me to be grateful for what we have, and what we can do.

    Steve

  3. Kate,

    I hope you received your winning copy of my book. As for negativity and journaling, yes a journal can either help or hinder this. People sometimes focus solely on the negative in a journal, which can actually lead you to become depressed. But on the other hand, you could use it as a way to vent, and get it out of your system, or just to find patterns in your thoughts and behaviour.

    I find that writing keeps me grounded too.

  4. Steve,

    You are not alone. I think most of us are wired to focus on the negative, because that’s the “done thing.” Just pay attention to your surroundings and you will find that people almost take pride in showing off how hard their life is. It takes an effort to say, actually yes I do have a good life, thanks.

    It’s great that you have influenced people in a positive way. Leaders are in a position to do so. I have had bosses in the past who became mentors, and others who I am glad to see the back of.

    Positive outlook can do wonders. You are lucky to have a partner who is a positive influence on you :-)

  5. I did get the copy of your book, thanks!! This week things are finally calmer for me so I will be able to go through the book more closely now.

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