THE POWER OF OPTIMISM IN ADVERSITY
series: CAREGIVER 101 by Steve Gross
When I had mentioned that our mission is to spread the power of optimism to help kids heal. And I think it's really important that we define what we mean by optimism.
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When we say optimism and we believe that optimism is a single most important trait that a child can have, it's really important that we define it.
Our definition of optimism is the capacity for a person, in this case, a child to be able to see and focus on the goodness in themselves. To be able to see and focus on the goodness in others. When we have the capacity to see goodness in ourselves, it allows us to access our social and emotional superpowers. What I mean by superpowers is it allows us to be open minded. It allows us to be authentic and courageous. When we can see the goodness in other people, it allows us to be loving and compassionate.
When we see the goodness in the world it allows us to be grateful, it allows us to have fun. optimism isn't saying that everything's perfect. It's saying that, yeah, I got a lot of struggles here, but there are also resources and there's also goodness and how do I leverage those resources and goodness to make things better for myself and the people around me? Optimism is not just an emotion like, hey, I feel everything's going to be great. That's a state of optimism that sometimes happens. It's an emotional state. It's fleeting, but I'm talking about a practical approach of cultivating the trade of optimism, which is that even admits, even though I don't feel it necessarily in my bones, I can practice looking for opportunities and blessings in the world around me. Again, it's not Pollyanna. It's not ignoring the struggles. We don't want to ignore children's struggles and say, hey, just cheer up. Be Optimistic. That doesn't help anybody, but how do we help them to see their strengths, the strengths of their peers and the strengths of the community around them?
Steve Gross, M.S.W., is the founder and chief playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to spread the power of optimism to help kids heal. The foundation partners with leading childcare organizations to strengthen theircapacity to build healing,...
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life-changing relationships with the children in their care.
Steve’s teachings have been utilized across the country and throughout the world in response to the social and emotional needs of communities deeply impacted by poverty, violence and illness. Steve helps others discover their own sense of optimism so that they can inspire the people around them to focus on the good and overcome life’s most difficult challenges.