Every day the number of pessimistic children grows, cornered by disappointment and disenchantment. Learning optimism is as important as brushing your teeth. Add it to your shopping list.
Tomás barely looked up when his mother came over to greet him. The rest of the parents were huddled in the schoolyard, talking about the exploits of their children. The sky, closed in by huge dark clouds, made matters worse. Only shame stopped him and a few feet away. The discouragement accumulated in his pockets was an incentive, he wanted to flee, to see himself far away. The teacher was there, wearing her wide, fresh smile, about to announce the winner of the drawing contest. Thomas had no hope. However, his classmates were so convinced that they would be the winners.
That afternoon Laura was bright, more beautiful than ever, and everyone wanted to reach first place to conquer her. She was barely seven years old, but there was tenderness in her eyes, she wore blonde braids and her eyes were silhouetted against the dawn sky. Everything happened so slowly: the teacher extracted from a manila envelope a piece of paper with the names of the first three positions, printed in hope green, precisely the color that she did not have in her memory.
A summer infidelity had ended her parents’ marriage. His mother barely had enough to feed him and the father was a voice on the phone every Christmas, and endless broken promises. His house was unpainted and had hardly any furniture, the absence of toys filled his bookshelves, while sadness seeped into the damp walls. But his mother was so optimistic in spite of everything, that he could not understand how she still harbored dreams. At six years old, Tomás was a bitter and pessimistic child. When he heard his name in the first position he felt that his heart was still beating horizons. His trembling hands caressed the huge backpack full of crayons, watercolors, tempera, multicolored pencils. Laura’s kiss was an unexpected gift that lit up his cheeks. And from that moment he began to believe in miracles again.
Every day the number of pessimistic children grows, cornered by disappointment. Pessimistic children come from homes where gray predominates in conversations, where people constantly talk about how bad the world is and say that all is lost. Research shows that optimistic children excel in school, get less sick, and are happier. So that:
Optimism causes setbacks to be reduced to a temporary circumstance, removes the dark clouds from the horizon and deploys capabilities. It is not about you sitting around and waiting for things to happen. Remember that optimists don’t take naps, they work until they achieve the goal. Don’t confuse optimism with daydreaming, waiting for something to magically come to you or happen to you. An optimistic person does not build castles in the sand, with his hands he digs into the hardest rock to lift it.
Teaches emotional cooking
Ordinary parents teach their children to bake cookies, extraordinary parents teach them to bake their negative emotions. You can’t imagine the words that cross your children’s minds: useless, failed, good for nothing … If you could see their fears: fear of failing a school test, being rejected by their friends, getting nowhere … Children need to burn in the oven all those pessimistic ideas that limit them.
Open your heart
The image on the television teaches them that life is a great mountain to be climbed, and that only the successful reach the top. In advertising they never show that the caterpillars also achieve it, because the camera only focuses on the face of the winner and the butterflies that flutter around him. Sit down and tell him about your valleys of doubt, your storms of hesitation, your hopeless deserts and how you reached the renewed peak of illusions. If you make the mistake of not teaching them about your frustrations, they will grow up with the idea that failure is synonymous with resignation.
Learning optimism is just as important as brushing your teeth or learning good manners. Add it to your shopping list.