The Burden of Being Good



When all my five children were young and we would enter a shop together, the anxious look on the assistants faces said it all ('hmmm look at that lot, they will wreak havoc with my displays'), as they politely asked if they could help.


Within two swift  minutes, when it was obvious my children were not going to run riot, but actually just stand quietly around the pushchair whilst Momma browsed, then the Q's began about why they were not at school.

It was inevitably the same ones and which I was always happy to answer - however at the end of this, as we gathered up the shopping and ourselves ready to depart,  always but always, the five well behaved children were told how GOOD they were.


I would beam of course, and agree that, yes they were.

Because BEING GOOD was such an accolade. Such a lofty achievement, this approbation of others.


Especially one's parents. The modifiers of our thoughts and actions.


I wish now instead that my children could just have been like this even more of the time. Upside down laughing their heads off. 












Far better to be sure, were the comments pertaining to how happy they looked and that they were always smiling. 


One of them told me as an adult that they were not allowed (by me) to display anger or prolonged annoyance, and indeed they weren't - because I was not allowed this, good children did not get cross and exhibit naughtiness, rudeness or other such  unseemly attitudes.

 (Except I very definitley did, so I wasn't really good!)


So I passed this on (despite all of the, I won't do this, that or the other,  when I'm  a parent, that we promise ourselves as a child!)


And thus it goes!


Can we not re educate ourselves as parents to be more open to less of the being good. I do not by any stretch of the imagination suggest that children  should be allowed to run amock with other peoples belongings or feelings, but that they be allowed to express themselves,  without fearing the consequences. 


 " ‘Do no harm’ is the Hippocratic physician’s oath, based on ancient Greek tradition. Don’t you think this simple phrase; ‘do no harm,’ is the real foundation for parents or anyone who cares for children? To not harm our children means that we must first not harm ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with the care, mindful attention, respect and affection we want for our children. How can we give them what we don’t have? This is all ‘state specific.’

Michael Mendizza


So we need to re evaluate our selves as adults, as parents, about what it means to be good or not. Who decides what is good? You will be familiar I am sure with this quote:


HAMLET: " .... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."


In  her book,' Wild Love'  Gill Edwards opines that ' whenever we try to be good- or expect others to be good we disconnect from the freedom,  joy and unconditional love that is our natural birthright. ' 

Of course, societal values change as the decades march on, and many of these are for the better. But who sets the values and why?  Why are children still going to school? 

(When the supposed reasons for it's introduction have long died?)