Searching For Good
Johann von Goethe said, “Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.”[i] Goethe’s very own mother was a perfect example of this positive outlook as it was said of her:
She had such a sunny, unselfish nature, that she was always happy herself, and always tried to make others happy. Her eyes only looked for all that was best in other people, and fault-finding was unknown to her. [ii]
Don’t we all want to be like Goethe’s dear mother, only seeing the good in others? It’s easy to focus on what our kids are doing wrong. But in the watch duty of searching for what they are doing wrong, we sometimes forget to look for what they are doing right, even if it is a simple thing. For instance, when is the last time you scolded your child in the check out line at the grocery store because he was whining and complaining. Did you think to say anything on those occasions (rare as they may be) when he was good in the checkout line?
Let’s determine to be like search lights, hunting down those stellar moments and taking the opportunity to acknowledge our kids for them. “Honey, you were so kind to the lady at the library today. I really appreciate that.” “Sweetheart I noticed your patience while we waited for your sister at the doctor’s office. Good job.” You’ll see them smile and sit up a little higher knowing their good qualities have been noted.
Family Fun: Create a “See The Good In Others Day.” Encourage your kids and husband to choose to look at the positive side of each person they encounter throughout the day, beginning with family members. For older kids give them several colorful index cards and have them write a note to others telling them of the good they see in them. Younger kids should be encouraged to tell others what they see. You may even buy an inexpensive pair of bright sunglasses as a reminder to each of the family members to focus on what is good in others. You can go to the Dollar store or make your own using poster board for the frame and colored cellophane for the lenses.