“The world is good” is a popular phrase in my house. My husband and I often say this to our children amidst the goodnights and I love you’s before bed; I say it to myself when figuring out how I want to phrase things for my boys, and my husband and I use it as a shorthand with each other when talking about issues related to our children.
What do we mean when we say this? We mean that we want to preserve our boys’ innocence and pure love for the world they live in. They believe people are good and everyone is trying their best; we don’t want to do anything to change these beliefs.
What does this mean practically speaking? It means I keep NPR off when my kids are in the car; it means I don’t curse at other drivers; it means my husband and I save our discussions of politics and daily irritations until our kids are asleep. These are a few of the concessions we make to preserve their innocence, along with many other small, conscious acts of editing out the world’s woes.
“Why?” we are sometimes asked. Don’t we want our children to live in the “real world”? Aren’t we being too overprotective? My answer to these questions is that of course I want my children to grow up to be fully-engaged with their world, and to be capable of dealing with challenges. And, I believe that the best way to help them develop into responsible, engaged, resilient and proactive adults is to allow them to grow up loving this world of ours. There will be plenty of time for my boys to learn about the world’s myriad problems and tragedies, and, when they do, I am confident that an early life free from these burdens will help them rise confidently to meet the challenges they are faced with.
Overwhelming children too early with “reality” can breed cynicism, depression and a sense of futility. Even for us adults, who have far more resources (and brain development!) than children, it is sometimes a struggle to stay balanced in the midst of everything going on in our lives an in the world.
By allowing our children to feel secure that the world they have been born into is just the right place for them –a good place, filled with beauty and kindness and miracles– we are giving them a lifelong gift and preparing them to be engaged, passionate and responsible adults who will be stewards of the world, the world that is good.
In my Simplicity Parenting classes, we explore in depth this idea of “Filtering Out the Adult World”.
I like this article about how time spent in nature helps cultivate a love for the world.