Transcendence refers to the universal virtue that consists of the ability to express an appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor and spirituality. Positive psychologists see these characteristics as being part of 24 personality strengths that create healthy and happy people.
The virtue of transcendence helps us create connections to everything in the universe. These connections in turn help us create meaning and understanding in our lives. William Blake in his ''Auguries of Innocence'' wrote:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
It is the power of transcendence that helps us connect a grain of sand to eternity. With our observations and understanding we begin to notice beauty and appreciate excellence in all aspects of the world.
No matter how modest our circumstances, we can learn to see the beauty that surrounds us. It is this ability to see the wonder-filled, the awe-inspiring and the miraculous that helps give our life meaning and sustenance.
Developing an attitude of gratitude creates another character strength. Being thankful for our lives, the people in our lives, our experiences, our comforts and even our tough times creates a resiliency in our character. This resiliency sustains us during the times that our lives on this planet are not going as expected. Taking time to express thanks to those around us and to a higher power will develop an inner strength that is not easily diminished.
The ability to laugh and make others laugh, to see the humor in a situation, to see the sunny side of the street when walking in the shadows--these are skills that keep us from being swallowed by self-pity. If human beings couldn't laugh, the universe would be sucked into a black hole. Cultivating a sense of humor, as they say, is the best medicine.
Hope and optimism are habits we all should practice and learn. Believing and working everyday to better ourselves and our world creates a life-affirming positive attitude that is difficult to extinguish no matter the hardship. As an old English adage says, ''Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. And be happy with whatever you get.''
The character strength of spirituality, or holding beliefs about having a higher purpose in the scope of the universe, creates success and inner peace. Hallmarks of happy and resilient people are the ability to feel a connection with a higher power, along with having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.
As we nurture our children let us remember to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Let's help children learn how to show thanks for their lives and everything in it. Let's teach them how to laugh at themselves and to see the humor in a situation. When times get tough, let's display a spirit of hope and optimism, by pointing the way to the future. Last, but not least, let us show our children that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Next week: Curing the Gimme's
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
She has over 25 years experience working with young children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is also Creative Director for a video-based reading series for children ages three to six, The Shining Light Reading Series. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete Collection of the Shining Light Reading Series Now Available on DVD
Visit www.shininglightreading.com for more information.
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