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Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist discusses our influence over the next generation, even when we think they are

Posted Jan 04 2010 8:09am

Lots of times we forget how much influence, as our children or grandchildren can appear to ignore us, forget us or even worse–run from us in one way or another. But we really do have so much influence over the next generation. Sometimes, we must just accept the fact that lots of times positive actions happen without positive recognition! Therefore, it behooves us as the ‘grownups’ in our personal worlds to keep looking for ways to help the young ones experience good times, feel nurtured and loved and to walk away from situations just a little more one the road to developing as a whole person with a good sense of self. I can assure you that insistence on creating a meaningful world for our children does eventually pay off!

I’d like to share with you how Lorna did just that with her daughter Sabrina. Here is some of what she wrote to me:

‘Yesterday afternoon Sabrina, my six year old daughter, was helping me make Chinese sesame cookies for our church’s girls’ club. Sabrina attends weekly club meetings and is always happy to help me out with the snacks for club. These cookies needed to be rolled into little balls and then rolled into sesame seeds. The ‘seeding’ of the cookies was Sabrina’s job. We were halfway through the dough. She was rolling away. Suddenly she said to me without looking up, “This is great! I get to spend quality time with Daddy and now more time with you!”

She was referring to her Sunday evenings alone with her daddy. Sunday evenings at 5:30 pm, I leave and take my 9 year-old son to the boys club at church where I also help with snacks. During the time we are gone, Sabrina and her daddy have a tea party almost every Sunday evening. They turn the lights off, light the candles that I have usually in the center of the table, then boil water, and set the table. There is usually some kind of ‘tea cookie’ (like shortbread) in the pantry. They take those and then serve each other tea and cookies. Sometimes they act silly. e.g. Acting very aloof with flowery language or just simply talking about this and that.

Last Sunday evening I did not have to stay at club until it was over. I got home just in time for the tea party. Sabrina set me a spot at the table. She offered me sugar and cookies. We chatted. She acted a little silly. It was really cute and I was glad I got to peek in on what she and my husband usually do. After I had a couple sips, I slipped away to my office to check email so they could have their usual special time alone.’

Lorna, Sabrina’s mom, is describing such a wonderful activity that lends itself both to building self-esteem and to beautiful positive memories in the future. I can picture Sabrina sharing her tea parties with her daddy years later with her own children!

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