Inner peace for children

I’ve been contemplating some of the ideas in my earlier blog post about two distinct types of happiness. To review: on one hand, we have a kind of “instant gratification” hedonistic happiness that we achieve by eating good food or having sex. On the other hand is a form of long-term happiness that might better be described as “well-being” which comes via working towards larger life goals.

It strikes me that it would be especially beneficial for children to understand the difference between these two types of happiness. The pursuit of the former, more hedonistic happiness will give only short-term pleasure. And children are notorious seekers of immediate gratification.

I suggest that the next time that you are in a van driving past Disneyland and the four-year-old who you are traveling with starts screaming “DISNEYLAND! I WANNA GO DISNEYLAND! LET’S GO NOW!” you say, “you know, instead of going to all the fun rides at Disneyland, why don’t we pull over and spend the next six hours considering how to achieve an inner serenity by accepting our place in the universe?” And then do exactly that.

Or, if you’re with a toddler and you pass an ice cream stand and the child starts screaming “Whhaaahh!!! I WANT VANILLA ICE CREAM. I WANT ICE CREAM! GIVE ME ICE CREAM OR I WILL HATE YOU FOREVER!” you say, “Instead of having delicious ice cream, why don’t we work on a series of mindfulness exercises where we contemplate calming our sympathetic nervous system and accepting that our physical needs are merely figments of our mind with no real control over our individual selves?”

I think children could benefit a lot from these kind of activities.

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