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Seeing the Beauty in the Beast
The year 2011 has come to an end. You might look back at this past year and reflect on your good and bad days; what went well in your eyes and what did not. You may have a discussion with your child/ren on this same subject. Every difficult circumstance or seemingly problematic personality can be seen with new eyes. Our lives can be entirely transformed by our perspective – and other lives blessed as well, if only we could see the beauty in the beast.
One might ask: What did the grade 3 student learn by being bullied so often? Maybe, it was that it was time that she minded her own business and not care so much when others were breaking the rules. What did the grade 7 student learn when he was the only student in the class to be excluded from the Halloween house party? He didn’t really want to be friends with the kids outside of school anyways, which is why he had chosen to go to the library to read each lunch hour, instead of hanging out with the others. What did the boy learn when his parents split up this past year? That sometimes two people don’t grow at the same pace, so reach a point where they each can find greater happiness apart. What did the granddaughter learn when her grandma’s best friend would not attend her grandma’s funeral? There was nothing wrong; it was only that the best friend could not handle the overwhelming sadness of witnessing her best friend’s funeral but was unable to admit it.
In each of these cases, it is finding and facing the truth that is key, for often the truth is not vocalized. And it is the truth that is so beautiful. They say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ But often the eye must be trained to see the beauty or to see beyond. Each of us is inherently good at our core and every apparent problem can teach the involved parties a lesson. Our task is to feel the sadness, anger or disappointment at particular circumstances or people and then climb out of the darkness into the light. If you think about it, many of us do this time and time again. The trick is to be okay with being in the darkness and in the light and being grateful for both. For without one, we cannot appreciate the other.
So, how important is this gift of teaching our children to see the beauty?
A few weeks ago, some girlfriends came from the city to stay at my place for a night. We started talking about the fact that grade 4 seems to be the year that children’s emotions really come into play. It is in grade 4 when more fights using words break out and children’s hurt feelings can take a little longer to mend. My friend told me that when she was a child, she had a teacher that distributed circles made of white cardboard to her grade 4 students each morning. One side of the circle was a happy face and the other was a sad face. Each morning, the children were instructed to turn their card to show the face that most accurately depicted how they were feeling. If the child turned the sad face up and laid it on their desk, the others knew to tread lightly with that child and be extra kind that day. We all have good and bad days. What this teacher taught her students is that it is okay to have good and bad days and to respect and honour what we are each going through, at any particular time. What a valuable lesson to learn.
We know we cannot change the world for our children. We know we cannot keep them from the world. But if we teach them to see beyond, they learn to keep custody over their thoughts and the world remains their oyster.
How do we bestow this important gift to our children? We talk to them. We find the good in the bad and explain it to them. We go on a walk with our child and suggest they look for beauty. We discuss a scenario and ask them to find the lesson. We give them examples. It might go like this. “Why do you think Gregory was mean to you on the last day of school before the Christmas holidays?” Your child might answer by saying “I don’t know.” You might say “Did anything happen to get him worked up?” And your child might say “No, he just snapped.” And your response might be any of the following “Well, you know how you told me that you were exhausted from school and that you were really looking forward to the break? Gregory might have been feeling the same way. Or maybe Gregory’s body doesn’t do well with all the treats you were eating at your school party that day.” The key is to put a few scenarios into your child’s head, so that he or she looks at Gregory with compassion as opposed to disdain.
The more often that you do this in your own life, the better equipped you will be to offer this assistance in the life of your child. And the more often you train your eye to view people and situations this way, the more often you will see beyond. It takes effort to do this. “Why must I always be the bigger person?” some of you might ask. Because when you see each person and circumstance as beautiful, you experience a beautiful moment. And one beautiful moment leads to another. And before you know it, you are living a beautiful life.
And I don’t know if you have noticed, but our eyes take on a look that conforms to our outlook. Others will see the same look in your eyes that is in their eyes and recognize that you, too, are seeing the beauty. It is in this way that you become surrounded by others who see the world with different eyes. And when you are surrounded by others with trained eyes and you are all seeing beyond and helping one another to do the same, eventually you will find that you are expending very little effort at all and living a beautiful and infinitely rewarding life.
The best thing in life is life. The child who finds fulfillment in music, reading, cooking, performing a sport, writing, drawing or some other craft does not need recognition or power or some “high” to feel worthwhile and good. The child who sees the beauty in life, well, that child has been given the greatest gift of all.
How do you see beauty in the world? I would love your feedback. Here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. This is a wonderful opportunity to leave a link back to your own blog when you leave a comment.
Happy New Year!