As parents we want many things for our kids…
Success – academic success, social success, sporting success and success in whatever else they choose to do.
Material possessions – toys, games, bikes, books, trampolines, pools, skateboards, gadgets, the latest technology, beautiful bedrooms, nice clothes, etc. We also take care not to give our kids too much because we want them to be grateful and not take stuff for granted.
Amazing experiences – including great birthdays, Christmas’ and special occasions, family holidays, overseas trips, we take them to the movies, musicals, the theatre, visiting theme parks, zoos, museums, we go bush walking, bike riding, camping, swimming and surfing, skiing and snowboarding, etc.
Our child’s (or children’s) success, material possessions and amazing experiences are easily seen, heard or if you like – ‘measured’ by others. We post pictures, videos and texts on social media and we call or catch up with friends and family to let them know how great our kids are going.
I don’t think we do this consciously to show off our kids’ achievements. I think we do it to share our joy that our child (or children) are doing well.
But are these ‘outside things’ we measure really an indication of how well our children are doing?
Oh, I just thought of another important outside thing…
My son has a close friend who does not do well academically, he is not one of the popular kids, he does not achieve highly in sport nor in any other area of interest in his life (that I am aware of). Despite all this, if I was this young man’s mother, I would be very proud of him because he is always considerate, polite and well-mannered, he cleans up after himself, he is grateful and he is an amazing friend to Jack.
I’m sure you would like your child to have these qualities too (I sure do), so let’s add social niceties to the list of what we want for our kids.
Social niceties – basically sums up the ability to behave with respect and consideration in social situations.
Which of these outer things is more important? Success? Material possessions? Amazing experiences? Social niceties? Or something else?
There is something else underneath all these outer things that I believe is more important than all of these and it is…
I want my kids, your kids and every kid on the planet to have inner strength.
What is ‘inner strength’?
To explain this properly I need to explain the difference between our outer world and our inner world…
Human beings have two worlds – inner and outer.
Our inner world is the world of our thoughts and feelings, of what is happening inside us. People we are really close to may have an idea about what is happening in our inner world, but only we know for sure.
Our outer world is the world around us, it includes our words and actions – our behaviour. Often these reflect our inner world, but not always (some people are great actors and actresses). Our outer world also includes the things we want for our kids – success, material possessions, amazing experiences and social niceties.
Love, happiness and fulfillment come from our inner world – more specifically they come from our inner strength. The more inner strength we have, the more love, happiness and fulfillment we experience in our lives.
It might seem like these feelings come from our outer world too, for instance, when we achieve something we have been striving for, when we get material possessions we have always wanted, when we fall in love – we feel good. But the truth is, these outer causes of love, happiness and fulfillment are only fleeting – the outer world cannot sustain them. (That’s why many people who seem to have it all on the outside are so unhappy, unloved and unfulfilled on the inside.)
I want kids to have inner strength so they can create states of love, happiness and fulfillment inside them regardless of what is happening outside them.
So, here’s that definition…
Inner strength – an inner loving wisdom, power and feeling that resides inside every human being regardless of their culture, religion, social and economic situation.
I call our inner strength ‘Sparky’, other people call it our ‘higher self’ or ‘spirit’. You can visualise this part of you as an image of a person who represents the most loving, kind, wise, caring, honest, loyal, considerate, forgiving, accepting, humble, patient, trustworthy and powerful part of you.
When we teach our kids about this part of them and get them to imagine it and connect to it, they start to build a foundation within them that helps them manage their inner world (in particular their fearful thoughts and feelings – Shady).
Our inner strength also helps us believe empowering stuff about ourselves and life, including:
When kids have daily conversations with their inner strength they are motivated to: succeed in areas they are passionate about; acquire material possessions they value and appreciate; experience amazing things with family and friends; and behave in ways that are socially nice. Not because they want to look good, prove a point or were told to, but because they genuinely care about themselves, other people and the planet.
So, my answer to ‘What is the most important?’ is – Inner strength!
If you want proof of your inner strength’s existence, close your eyes and think of 10 things in your life that you are truly grateful for. Visualise each one for a moment and focus on how much love and happiness it brings you.
Enjoy your inner strength in the year ahead!
Coming up this month in Coffs Harbour – Affordable* Two-Day Holiday Workshops – Bring your child along to meet their Sparky (and Shady) and learn how they work as a human being. The two days cover everything you and your child need to tick your inner strength box!
*Only $330 for one child and one accompanying parent for the two days! Book here now – https://sparkyandshady.com/workshop/upcoming/