My friend, Patti, writes a daily blog. Recently she wrote about wishing others goodwill. In her post she said, “Goodwill isn’t just the name of a secondhand store or a phrase used in songs during the holiday season. It’s a challenging value to practice.”
I thought about this and wondered why wishing others goodwill may be challenging.
The first thing that came to mind was how the comparing and contrasting vein runs deep in our psyche. We are prone to seeing ourselves as somewhat better or worse than others, yet we can overcome this once we have some understanding of the true nature of our humanity.
I came across two very simple concepts that would help children in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.
He was not referencing this topic, yet the simplicity of his examples lends itself to presenting this concept to children.
When children feel a tinge of jealousy or a bit of envy, it is helpful to take notice. Fortunately, this is not too hard to spot.
Begin to talk to them about this. I find the wheel is a good way for children to grasp the reason we wish others goodwill. All the spokes are like all the people, yet the hub ties all of us together. Explain how each person gets a turn in his or her own way.
I also like to tell them about the aspen trees he mentioned and how their root systems are interconnected. Each tree looks different, but under the ground there is a common root. That’s how we are. We are all connected.
This commonality eases our sense of isolation and the “every man for himself’ mindset that can be painful to hold. It helps us not devalue ourselves and our accomplishments.
We can celebrate the good fortune of others as we would our own once we understand these basic truths.
Look for occasions in your daily life when you openly rejoice for others. This models a powerful life lesson to children.