By Dr. Jan Hittelman

There are many things that we know but, for a variety of reasons, we make the semiconscious choice to forget.

The biggest one is knowing that each of us will eventually die. Even though we know, we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about it and on some level denying it. Not a big surprise because our physical finality can be such an overwhelming realization. The fact that most of us would dramatically alter our lives if we were told that we had just six months to live, serves as proof of this denial. When someone close to us dies, part of the grief that we experience is the discomfort of having to consider our own mortality. The irony is that if we were more at peace with our life cycle, we would be more conscious of our mortality and live with a renewed purpose.

We also know that we are fortunate for the things that we have, but can easily take our blessings for granted. That’s why it sometimes takes a camping trip to rediscover the luxury of a hot shower. Although a week later, we’re back to taking it for granted and hardly noticing it again. Imagine how happy we would be if we were able to truly appreciate everything that we have.

As parents we know that, most importantly, our children need our love and nurturance. But somehow in our day-to-day existence we find ourselves putting more energy into control and power struggles, not the most conducive environment for love and nurturance. Of course it is important to discipline our children, but we could all benefit from less negativity. After all the word “discipline” means to teach, we tend to add “through punishment”. Giving our children positive feedback when they behave appropriately and trying to be good role models, can go a long way to raising healthy, well-adjusted children.

I cannot tell you why it is so easy for us to know and yet forget these important truths. I just know that if we put conscious effort into fighting our natural tendency to do so, our lives and the lives of those around us can be so much richer.