The FEEL GOOD Challenge – status update

14 01 2014


challenge noun

: a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do

: an action, statement, etc., that is against something : a refusal to accept something as true, correct, or legal

: an invitation to compete in a game, fight, etc.[1]

Well folks the FEEL GOOD  Challenge was accepted the morning after the proposal was forwarded.  Both girls wanted to take part and shared their tracking system for the “FEEL GOOD” success rate.  It’s been about a week since we started and no surprise that it has been an enlightening journey thus far!  My precocious daughters continue to keep me on my toes with their insights, observations and manifestation of their truth.  When I repeated to the girls how the reward for taking part in the challenge was to be revealed in 2 weeks time, my younger daughter, to my absolute delight, declared that she did not think a reward was necessary at all given that the “real” reward was going to be in just feeling good about herself and making her sister feel good…(pause for effect here – now start the fire works )



After this little exchange, I had already declared a premature victory, patted myself on the back and was almost ready to declare the mission complete; well, not so fast.  Despite the  wisdom expressed by my profoundly astute 9 year old, I also noticed that there wasn’t a huge change in the girls’ behaviour toward each other.  Not only has the bickering continued, but I also noticed that the brilliant “FEEL GOOD” challenge was bringing up feelings of injustice and hurt.  The girls were complaining that they did not have equal opportunities to make each other feel good.  They also felt that they weren’t setting each other up to succeed when they made attempts at showing a kind gesture to the other, since neither was acknowledging efforts made by the other.  After a family meeting to clarify the intent of the challenge once again (see above definition), we decided to forge ahead but from a different perspective.

Thanks to the keen insights of a veteran parent who read the previous blog post and took interest in this “FEEL GOOD” challenge, I realized that the frustration I feel when the girls argue is much more about me than it is about them.  My deeply held beliefs taught me that sisters are supposed to be best friends and they should support each other, not hurt each other.  Having had a tumultuous relationship with my own sister growing-up (whom I now love and respect for the woman she is), I’m ultra sensitive to this dynamic between my own girls.  But what if the bickering and fighting serves a greater purpose, as my wise elder suggested?  What if the fighting between the girls, although it hurts me, is actually creating a stronger bond that will stand the test of time for their relationship and the relationships they will forge with other important people in their lives?  I can still own the truth of my experience, without holding the girls to judgement about how they are choosing to interact with each other.


So it is from this new perspective that the “FEEL GOOD” challenge continues AND has expanded to include my husband and I.  We decided it would do us good to practice what we preach and now my focus has inadvertently shifted from the girls to my own efforts to make my husband feel good 🙂 and it already has become much more fun!  More to come on this as the challenge continues….


Nurturing Unconditional Kindness

5 12 2013


The topic of kindness has been a running theme for me since I started this blog.

How do we nurture kindness in our children?  Can kindness, like love be conditional and unconditional?

My eldest daughter has made a significant life choice recently to adopt a vegetarian life style.  This decision was prompted by her innate love of animals and nature.  I would consider this an act of unconditional kindness – as she has chosen to step out of her comfort zone and give up foods she has enjoyed since she was much younger (good-bye prosciutto, hamburgers, homemade sausages and veal scallopini!) without any expectation of compensation or reward.   Pretty cool!!!

Have you ever noticed however how fear sometimes stops us from giving kindness unconditionally?  Its like we’re giving kindness with a closed hand when:

  • we donate to a charity for the tax receipt that can be used as a claim for income taxes;
  • we help out friends and family in order to make a deposit in the “help” bank that we plan on withdrawing from later;
  • we volunteer for a cause just to get school credits.

What’s with the “Quid Pro Quo” undercurrent in the name of kindness?  True, being unconditionally kind can make us feel vulnerable and being vulnerable takes courage, especially as we get older.  That being the case,  as elders, champions, coaches and guardians, we have a very unique opportunity to re-learn how to be vulnerable and show kindness unconditionally by teaching, observing and simply BEING with our children.

If you ever have the privilege of spending time with a group of children as they play together, notice the dynamics between them and how you feel as you observe.  Recently I experienced immense frustration as I witnessed children being physically aggressive toward each other in the school yard as they were “playing”.  Why were they more inclined to overpower each other physically than play collaboratively?  Why use a closed fist instead of open hands to express themselves?  How do we bring more kindness to the local playground?  Once we acknowledge the sources that continue to desensitize our children to other people’s feelings, in our homes, schools, and the wide, wide world of social media and entertainment, we can also choose to introduce something different.  We have it in us to engage our children in a new conversation in order to nourish unconditional kindness but it takes a village, and the objective needs to be a common one.

So fellow villagers consider:

  • What can you do to show unconditional kindness to yourself today?
  • How can the children in your life bear witness and learn from such an act?


This post is dedicated to the memory of the 14 sacred goddesses whose lives were taken at L’École Polytechnique in Montréal on December 6th, 1989.  Let the brutality of that event serve as a reminder that it is our mutual responsibility to nurture kindness in all our sons and daughters.  Kindness is the oxygen that can rid society of cancerous violence.

%d bloggers like this: