We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
'We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do,’ said Mother Teresa.Your child smiles because you smile. You are under surveillance. Multiply this by thousand times. If you want to raise a happy child, be happy. Your child’s face is a blank slate – what will you write on it?
Show your joy in what makes you happy… family, friends, your ideals and faith, a job well done. Teach your child what is good, true and beautiful by finding joy yourself in these things.
The 200cm2 of your face sets the emotional tone at home. A parent is responsible for the culture at home, the emotional culture first of all.
Therefore, let’s keep up the constant effort to be cheerful, to show in our faces our love for others, and for all that is good. Let us show also in our faces our dismay at things that are hurtful, unkind, selfish… but let’s keep the emphasis on the positive ten to one. Let us be remembered for constant cheerfulness.
What a privilege to teach a child to love! To teach a child this greatest happiness for life.
Smiles are contagious, but it doesn’t stop there. The neuroscience tells us that from your emotions, your child is developing an emotional world that could be a garden of peace, or if you are not on the ball, a landscape where a threat is around each corner and where the goal of existence is self indulgence. Your efforts or lack of emotional self management will be the making of your child, or it will put heavy baggage in your child's hands impeding him or her in the years to come. The choice is yours.
- Am I aware of my emotional example? Am I mindful of the expression on my face?
- Do we, as parents, take responsibility for the emotional tone in the home?
- How do I manage my emotions when teens are being negative?
- If you are an irascible person do you strive never, ever, to get angry at home? Do you say sorry afterwards to your spouse and/or kids when you have lost your composure?
Return of 'The face'
Some parents go to great lengths to manage their emotions. One wonderfully-hearted but powerfully-irascible dad knew he was about to totally lose it with his nine year old daughter who had again done something silly one night. He disappeared into the laundry to fix his face, reappearing when he had his feelings under control. But immediately the girl gasped to her mother in dread, 'Daddy's got the face!' We can think we have fixed our faces but sometimes kids see right through us.
Emotions and teens
Clinical psychologist, Dr Ross Campbell, insists in his bestselling 'How to really love your teenager' that parents have the duty to emotionally nourish their teens and that they must not seek out emotional nourishment from their teens. Parenting is the art form of helping children to stride through whatever life can throw at them, so your calm but energetic example is crucial in developing these skills. Loss of self control always takes away both our peace of heart and our happiness.