Wyatt, thanks most kindly for your thoughtful post. As it comes to kids, I have read so much about how they- as well as employees, animals and just about all living things- respond to our highest expectations, and the love that goes with it.
When we cascade the pain we sustained onto others, we perpetuate suffering. We see it all the time on social media. People who can’t own what they feel and turn it into mercy. Kindness. That’s grace. To me that’s one of the most important elements of what “turn the other cheek” means. You don’t have to be a Christian to understand that message, or the challenge involved in being big enough not to make others pay for your pain.
You make a VERY important point about safety. Especially with young kids, the power of feeling safe enough to experiment and fail makes for very confident kids. For my part I didn’t get that until I joined the Army. While not everything that happened there was positive, one of the great good things I learned was to experiment. Try. Fail. Try Again. Whether that was getting over the six foot wall in basic (yes I did) or trying out a new kind of job, the military is one of the few places where it’s kind of hard to be fired if you’re just not a good fit. That gave me acres and acres of confidence.
My good friend and Thai masseuse Melissa rescues damaged cats. They are spastic in their movements, often falling, often completely out of control of their limbs. She seems to specialize in giving them a totally safe place, and as a result they thrive. She expects them to manage on their own, and they do. For every living creature we treat with compassion we are rewarded many times over. That compassion goes through us like a healing salve. It is by no means a one-way street. When we express and demonstrate courtesy, respect, grace and compassion, they transform us as well. That is how we heal the hurts of our lives. We get what we give. Thanks so very much for your insights.