The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman

I had a great childhood. I wasn’t completely spoiled but all my physical and emotional needs were met. I can’t recall any tragic moments or horrible moments. By all objective measures, I had it pretty good.

So it surprises me when I notice that my default status is pessimism. In college I dealt with some depression, but I bounced backed from that relatively easily and I definitely built up some good resilience. But no matter what I do or where I am at, I can never seem to shake off this foreboding sense of gloom. Pessimism is my disposition. I don’t like it, but that’s reality for me.

Now, I am a husband and a father to some amazing girls, and I don’t want them to be like me. I want them to be optimistic. I want them to be resilient at a younger age. I want them to have courage. I want them to see the world as a place of opportunity and not a big scary place.

I have read Seligman before and I wanted to learn more practical ways to bestow optimism in my children. This book is full of great inventories and exercises to help children build optimism and resilience.

At the moment, I cannot apply of the material to my children because they are too young. However, I have already begun to incorporate little conversations with my girls every night. These are small steps but they may have a tremendous impact. I think this book is a definite must-read for all parents.

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