Karma For Kids

One of the biggest challenges a parent faces is guiding a child who is being bullied. Unfortunately, I know this struggle well, and my oldest is only in second grade. Kids can be brutally mean. The heartbreaking reality that children who bully are likely victims of abuse themselves does little to ease the pain that their words and actions have on sensitive, anxiety prone children like my eight year old, Ben.

As much as I want to assure my kids that “bullies never win,” all they have to do is look at our current political leaders to realize that simply isn’t true. Which makes the following story that much sweeter.

Ben is a soccer fanatic. A few weeks ago, his team lost 3-2 to an opponent. When the boys were high fiving afterwards, instead of the traditional “good game,” the winning team laughed at them and told them they were “trash.” (I was not at this game or I would have addressed the bullying directly with their coaches.)

Last week, the boys played the same team. They won 7-1, and Ben scored one of the goals!!! Even better, when they high fived, every child on my son’s team said only “good game!” Needless to say, the other team was embarrassed, our family was tremendously proud, and most importantly my son learned a lesson about karma that he’ll never forget.

I genuinely believe that good or bad karma isn’t some passive fate that befalls us; it’s something we create with our actions. This is NOT to say that horrible things don’t happen to good people because of course they do, and the victim is in no way responsible. Just as amazing things happen to terrible people who are in no way deserving. The challenge we face as parents is to teach our kids to do the right thing no matter who is watching or whether there is a reward at the end. To treat others kindly and with respect regardless of whether they’ve earned it or will give it back in return.

Those of us who consistently choose the right path and derive satisfaction from helping rather than hurting others are karmically rewarded. Maybe not with wealth or power, but with intangibles like pride, self esteem, opportunities, finding meaning and purpose in our lives, and earning the trust, respect, love and friendship of others. Oh, and the occasional blow out soccer win.   

Kathleen Schwarz