What was the happiest moment of your life?
That’s how we kicked off tonight’s Sangha and it took us to some magical places. Sumay jumped right in with a story from 3 years ago. We stayed up late playing ball tag in the basement my favorite video game of all time ... Zeliard. We must have stayed up till midnight 🕛.
Aila said the best day of her life was when we went canoeing 🛶 two weeks ago. She did yoga and squats half the time while Sumay and Mommy did all the work. Its worth watching 😉.
— Here is why I titled the Sangha “Symphony” —
Dad: Why did those moments make you so happy?
Aila: Oh ... it’s one of thooose questions...
Sumay: Because it was fun and exciting?
Aila: Because we felt loved?
Dad: Let me suggest a reason and you tell me if it rings true. Was it because on that day you felt like you truly connected with another person?
Aila: YES YES exactly exactly!!! Just like that song Symphony!!!
Sumay: Oh Yeah!
Mom: What song???
Aila: You know...it goes like this,
Sumay and Aila singing: 🎶
And now your song is on repeat 🎵 And I’m dancin' on to your heartbeat
And when you’re gone, I feel incomplete 🎵 So if you want the truth
I just wanna be part of your SYMPHONY 🎶 Will you hold me tight and not let go?
SYMPHONY...Like a love song on the radio 🎵 Will you hold me tight and not let go?
(Aila then added that...)
Aila: “l love hugging because bodies are squishy”
— End transcript —
We spent the next half hour talking about what people value more than anything ... connecting with others. Specifically, being chosen and loved by someone we look up to. While we may not like to admit it we all need love, recognition, and social gratification.
I was reminded recently of a research study where monkeys were deprived of their parents but given all the other necessities of life: food, water, shelter. The monkeys ended up with severe psychological problems...it’s a sad study and one that I wish had never been conducted, but it does make clear the fact that we all need love like we need the air we breath.
Sumay shared a story early on in the discussion about a boy that kept bragging about how great he was at math...having completed his homework before end of class.
Dad: Why did he do that?
Sumay: I don’t know, because he wanted to feel better than everyone?
Dad: Does he get something out of it?
Sumay: No, it’s just annoying.
Dad: But it helps him feel better, even at the expense of making others not like him as much?
Sumay: Yes, he does it to feel good.
Dad: Why would he trade feeling good about himself when it hurts his relationships?
Sumay: I don’t know.
Dad: If the teacher were to acknowledge his achievements, would he feel a need to brag?
Sumay: Probably not 🤔
We eventually concluded that feeling valued is a need...and if we can’t get it from friends, family, or colleagues then we need to satisfy it ourselves.
Unfortunately, sometimes that means we distort reality to hide ourselves from the truth. So instead of facing up to failure, or the fact that no one likes something we did, we protect our egos by telling ourself stories (lies). We may also do the job our parents, teachers or bosses should be doing... pointing out our achievements.
Too often, we parents tend to ignore kids until they do something wrong when we should be catching them doing what’s right and pointing it out! People have a natural tendency to ignore what’s working and focus on problems. This tendency works contrary to motivation...which works best by focusing on successes. Only after we feel appreciated and valued can we have the motivation and courage to face reality and fix our weaknesses.
Here is an analogy Aila really enjoyed:
People are like trees 🌳 . When we feel loved, valued and accepted...we are like a tree with deep roots. When we receive negative feedback, are criticized, or fail...it’s like the wind 💨. The wind blows and it forces our roots, trunks, and branches to become stronger. But if we have no roots...if we don’t feel valued ... we can’t face reality. Our courage breaks when we fail or are criticized. We can’t use the wind to grow stronger.
So much of this discussion rang true for me. Whether it be marriage, parenting, or my career...people are so much more willing to grow from experiences when they feel confident and appreciated. We are social beings and need, like the air we breath, to feel part of a Symphony!