Protect Your Child from Depression: The Final Chapter

This is the last blog in a series entitled “Protecting Your Child from Depression.” The last 3 blogs explained that teaching children their actions make a difference and teaching them to help other people builds a life filled with happiness. Teaching them to have hope for tomorrow gives them a future with happiness. Teaching them to express gratitude helps build a past filled with happiness and a present life built upon happiness. In this last segment, we will explore one final way to protect our child from depression. This skill helps transform a painful past into a joyous presence. With that in mind, the fifth and final way we will explore to protect your child from depression is forgiveness.
Teach your child to forgive. Imagine going through life with a heavy rock in one hand and a rope tied around the other wrist. The rock allows you to threaten revenge…after all, they deserve to be stoned. Unfortunately, that rock also weighs heavy on your arm. And, being tired from carrying that weight, you lash out at others who trigger that same anger. The rope extends from your wrist and binds you to the person who has hurt you in the past; it ties you to a painful past. And, the longer you hold the grudge, the tighter the rope becomes, separating you from other people and, ultimately, from yourself. It ties you to bitter memories from the past and can contribute to feelings of depression.
There is only one way to transform those memories… forgiveness. When we forgive those who have hurt us, we drop the rock of revenge and let go of the rope—we become free to live in the present and create happiness today.
How do we teach children to forgive? First you must model forgiveness in your own life. Let them see you forgive those who hurt you. What is involved in forgiving?
Objectively recall the hurt. Work to understand the one who hurt you. Give the gift of forgiveness. Remember a time that you were given the gift of forgiveness—this will help you offer the gift to others. Hold on to that forgiveness by finding the good that came out of the situation. Did you learn something? Did you become a stronger or more sensitive person? Be grateful for that “pearl in the mud.” Every time you think of that event, remember the “pearl” and the gift of forgiveness.
Going through the process of forgiveness transforms the bitter memories of anger into the personal freedom needed to pursue joy and contentment in your current life and relationships. Learning to leave bitterness in the past and to embrace the freedom to pursue joy and contentment in the present may help protect your child from depression.
That’s it–an “immunization” against depression. Protect your child from depression by teaching them:
·         That their present actions make a difference.
·         Helping people rather than focusing only on ourselves will fill our lives with joy.
·         Expressing gratitude builds up a bank account of happy memories to draw on from the past and helps us pay attention to the joys of today.
·         Realizing the hope for tomorrow builds an enticing future of joy that we can look forward to.
·         Forgiving those who have hurt us transforms a painful past into a happy presence.

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