A recent piece in Inc magazine references the forthcoming December 2019 issue of The Atlantic, in which psychologists Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant) suggest an obsession with success is dominating the way people parent – and undermining their ultimate goal.
When parents are surveyed, over 90 percent say that having a child grow up to be caring is a top priority. But, as a Harvard report shows, their children, when surveyed, say their parents actually value achievement and happiness over caring.
The disconnect comes from the place where all our parenting gets real… it doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what you do.
I love the way this is phrased in the article:
“Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention.”
Says the Inc piece: “We want our kids to be successful and caring, but focus too much on the first and create a dearth of the second.”
Unfortunately, kindness (as anything but a buzzword) is not trending. This, despite the evidence that “children who help others end up achieving more than those who don’t”.
It’s kind of sad that we need leading magazines and leading researchers to remind us this… or that we need to package kindness as a productivity or performance hack…
but I wanted to share because, it affirms my kindness bias! And, I think the real nugget is in this: your words don’t matter anywhere near as much as where you give your attention.
Your attention is your superpower.
It’s a finite resource. Treat it with some respect. Don’t squander it. And don’t assume that your kids, partners, co-workers, friends, pets, won’t notice that you tell them you love them, and then proceed to stare at your personal device…
Because it’s also a gift.
I have just picked up a beautiful looking book from the library, called The Curious Nature Guide.
In it, she suggests giving one minute of your attention a day to Nature. Begin where you are. Right now. Look up, look out, go outside. Count to five and watch what’s going on. “Forget where you need to be and where you have come from.” And then, list six or seven nature observations that you see, hear or feel. Just notice.
Simple and lovely, isn’t it?
There are 1440 minutes in a day. Even if you love sleep as much as me, one minute of attention practice won’t cut into all the other things you need to do…
What if you gave one to Nature, one to your partner, one to your kid… in this way… what might unfurl, from practicing giving your attention, to just noticing… Isn’t that, alone, a gesture of profound kindness? What ripples out from there? Imagine.