Re-posted with permission from http://palancaleadership.com:
All You Need is Love
I have always believed that people are innately good. After all, you never see a baby with a AK47 and a cigarette hanging from their lips. I am, however, a realist. I know that circumstances that shape behaviors happen at a very young age and that while socio-economic factors may play a part in some families, the primary emotion needed to guide a young child to becoming a healthy adult is Love.
No family can be considered normal. Even the very richest households lack the love factor when it comes to parenting kids. Love comes in many forms. It can be sparingly doled out by busy parents who say they love their children, but can’t quite rip away from their phones or work to spend quality time with their young ones. Sometimes there is “overloving” when the parents plan out things to the extremes and then swoop in to argue if they feel their child has been wronged. Some parents actually create Facebook pages about other kids in an effort to shield their children from hurtful treatment from others. And finally, there are the have nots. These kids are seeking love in the wrong places because they are on the receiving end of resentment for being born and messing up a parent’s freedom or social life. These are the kids that end up in the judicial system not understanding that love is a wonderful emotion and that people do care about what happens to them.
Richard Waldinger says in his Ted Talk on: ”How to live a good life” that it is relationships that sustain us; Loving, familiar, and strong relationships.
My experience with parents and kids relationships runs the gamut from families that are so wonderful you want to be adopted by them, to families where the onus of parenting takes a back seat to putting food on the table, finding a job, feeding ones habits, or the inability to spend time with the kids. Young adults, who have been left on their own develop ways of seeking love, and, for the most part, will choose a path that is not very safe or happy. They turn to substances to ease the pain, gangs which substitute for families, or begin families themselves without the tools to guide, but wanting to have someone of their own to love them unconditionally.
I have had the opportunity to reach out to mentors in Kalamazoo and surrounding communities. I am blown away by people who are willing to sacrifice their time and experience to serve as mentors for these kids seeking love. We live in a place that is unprecedented when it comes to community needs. The amount of people interested in providing mentorship is mind boggling. It is a community of love.
Reminded of the climate of our community of late, I have seen what loving relationships do in allowing the healing to take place. I know that for every young person gone astray, there are at least 5 who are willing to put them back on their feet. It is a big job in this current world, where potential leaders model behaviors that, in preschool, would give them the time-out chair. Where haughtiness and self-importance has been lifted up by people in politics as being the change. The fact is, it is not the change, it is the norm.
As my mentors and I work with young adults in our city and surrounding areas, we will always go back to the message that: LOVE that conquers all. Money, power, lying, and self-importance are not even in our wheelhouse of character traits for good citizens. I believe John Lennon said it best: “Love is all you need."
Until next time,
Lisa Palanca for Palanca Leadership
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