Let us be clear -- we don't advocate suffering. And we're all in favor of happiness (and success and achievement). But we need to be wiser about how children truly become not only moral, but happier and high-achieving.
When we are care-giving rather than care-taking, we do these things willingly because it is loving to ourselves and to the other to do so, and we do not feel the resentment that we often feel when we give ourselves up to care-take.
Downton is not unlike our own time, and that may also be a secret to its popularity. But if dramatic change was all it had to offer, the series would be depressing, if not also scary. What the characters give us is hope that we can come through both morally and materially intact.
If we want girls to receive positive reinforcement for early acts of leadership, let's discourage bossy behavior along with banning bossy labels. That means teaching girls to engage in behaviors that earn admiration before they assert their authority.
World peace. We all want it, but how can we achieve it? Headlines preach to the choir the ongoing violence and conflict seen not only internationally, but within our own community. Is it only meant to be dreamed of for a utopian society? Will it ever occur?
We often have several "primary agreements" in our intimate relationships. We agree to take care of each other, as well as to be nice, to protect and not to hurt each other. "I've got your back! I wont hurt you, and I wont let any one else hurt you! You're safe with me!"
True generosity is giving without any thought of getting or receiving. It is unconditional, unattached, free to land wherever it will. Through giving and sharing in this way, we soon find that we do not lose anything. We do not have any less. Rather, we gain so much.
The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin incident -- both on and off the field -- reveals a culture where the "rules of the game" at best tolerated and at worst endorsed a "Wild West" culture of meanness, hazing, bullying and anything-goes.
We want our children to learn where we came from, how we got to where we are, and more importantly, who it was that had the ideas, the courage and the determination to change their own world and therewith, ours.
Where is there any good news? The answer lies beneath the surface, under the noise and drama that capture major headlines. Unobtrusive and resilient, the human spirit of kindness, caring and generosity is still thriving.
Who could blame us for wanting people to notice when we do something nice? But what if we keep our kindness private, shared only between us and the person we care about at that moment? That is something I would like to see.
It's in the weeks that follow tragedy that the majority of us look up from our hustle and bustle, look at strangers' faces and feel the bond of humanity. But come January, we're entrenched in our to-do lists, back in our bubbles, our connection gone. Apathy becomes our greatest contagion.
Where The Hunger Games are the imagined price of a failed transition to sustainable prosperity, Compassion Games are the authentic reward for successful transition. May kindness be with you in the game of life!