Friday, 26 July 2013

Jumping for Joy.

When was the last time you jumped for joy? Unless you have won the lottery recently I would suspect it was when you were very young. My nearly two year old granddaughter was staying with us at the week end and I noticed how extreme young children's feelings are or at least how extreme they are in expressing them.
She's not that keen on finishing play and sitting down to eat her food, so when I said it was lunch time and put a bib on her she put her head in her hands and started crying as if her world was ending. That didn't seem to get a reaction from me so she threw herself prostrate on the floor and started kicking her legs. I still didn't react, I brought in her plate and told that Peppa Pig was coming on tv, she stood up,sat at the table and proceeded to eat all her lunch,over- reaction or what?

She is now stringing a sentence together but sometimes it's difficult to catch what she is saying,when we finally do get it she lets us know we are right by jumping up and down and saying,"Yes! Yes!"
She expresses all happiness by jumping for joy, such is the life of a toddler, they can get away with anything.

Whether it's going for a walk or bringing out the playdough, she will jump up and down with anticipation.

Are we too reserved in the way we express ourselves? We say words like, wonderful, amazing, terrific when we hear good news when really we want to jump for joy. If we did, strange looks would be thrown our way, we Brits just don't do that.

We have often seen portrayed on television the way some cultures do express their feelings more than we do. Extreme grief brings them together as a community to weep and wail, it's the only way they know.
 Happiness may be shown in the form of dancing and, yes, jumping up and down for joy.

We expect our children to learn how to behave,we stop the temper tantrums, the falling down on the floor and kicking of legs. We tell them not to cry when they can't get what they want and to behave in public, in other words,to hide their true feelings, keep them bottled up inside. As we quell  this behaviour does it also stop them from jumping for joy as they get older?  Do we condition our children to keep their true feelings to themselves?
How many times when waiting in a queue, or waiting over an hour and a half for a hospital appointment (yes,that was me) do we really want to express our true feelings, instead we hold them all inside and let rip when we get home, behind closed doors.
We are only being polite by not showing how annoyed we are but if I had taken my granddaughter to that appointment (like I so nearly did) I'm sure she would have been lying on the floor kicking her legs and screaming that she wanted to go home. Exactly how I felt but couldn't express it.

Are we also too afraid to show genuine joy to other people in case we upset them with our happiness or maybe seem smug?
It's a tightrope we walk when teaching our  children and grandchildren how to live in the real world, we don't want to dampen down those expressions of excitement and happiness but in controlling the showing of displeasure do we also control the showing of joy?
 I would love to know what you think.

 Do you remember this advert?

I have started to jump with joy with my granddaughter but it does your knees no good.


  1. Funny you should post this today, because yesterday I jumped for joy when I lifted a weight that was previously impossible! Yes, I think more people should show their happiness, because it's all too easy to see when they're annoyed!

  2. Good for you! It's a great feeling when you achieve something.

  3. Anne, what a thoughtful post! It's such a fine line isn't it? I get annoyed with people who cannot control their negative feelings, but love it when great enthusiasm is shown, but can we have the one without the other? Children are precious in their expressions and you're right. It's sad that they lose that with maturity. Maybe if we just focus on the positive and enthusiastic by rewarding it and just do as you do and ignore (and so not reward) the negative behaviour, we'll have children who want to be happy all the time! Here's hoping anyway :-) When did I last jump for joy? Hmmm, I think it was when I heard my barge engine running smoothly after a long period of problems!

  4. I often jump, dance and sing for joy - at home, people would question my sanity if I behaved like that in public. As I read your post, I was thinking of that advert, and I must admit, I would love to behave like that sometimes, just to see the reaction. Can you imagine getting to the end of the queue in the supermarket and the snotty cashier saying she was closing, and then throwing yourself on the floor - love it.

  5. I hate the way we instill lack of enthusiasm in our youngsters. You only have to watch a Primary School filing into assembly to see how the nursery are grinning and happy but as the older classes walk in you can actually see the enthusiasm drain away until the Year 6 class turns up with their pouts Nd their 'whatever' mantra.

    I can't remember the last time I felt the urge to jump for joy but I did cry with happiness at my son's wedding. Does that count!

  6. What a great post! Oh how I remember the tantrums when my three were little....but I treasure those moments of sheer unalloyed joy.
    I'm very polite in public ...don't throw a wobbly at all...but I d have a very expressive face and am naturally quite exhuberant.One of my fellow journos said to me this week...when I first met you I thought you were drunk...always smiley and happy! But you're always like that...
    So I guess I am like a big kid...without the tantrums

  7. A very interesting post. I never really gave much thought to how we condition children to stifle all their feelings including jumping for joy. But I think it is so very true. I know if I decided to jump for joy amongst my adult friends, they would think I had gone off my rockers. Shedding a few tears over a sad incident, seems a tad more acceptable but even then it depends on your circles. I love to be around little children precisely because they see everything with such joy and wonder. Reminds me of a recent incident coming home on public transit. I started speaking to a 4 year old who really loved to talk. Soon he asked me if he could visit at my place, lol. I had to handle that one carefully as his poor mother was nearby and I didn't want her feeling so awkward. He quickly forgot about me when they got on the bus and they had a donut, lol.

    I blog at if you'd like to visit some time.

  8. Thanks! Maybe we're all just too polite.

  9. Thanks Val.Yes it's sad when they start becoming self concious and don't want to express themselves. Toddler boy even moaned to me that a man was annoying him when we were standing at the bus stop,he said this in a loud voice,the man was sitting on the seat and tapping his feet,lol!

  10. Oh that would be funny Amanda.I get really annoyed in supermarket queues especially when the cashier starts chatting to a customer when there's a huge queue and the person slows down to answer her while packing their bags,I want to throw myself on the floor then.

  11. I worked in a nursery class and we could see through to primary one class because it was semi open plan.Term time started and all all nursery kids who had just started school ,day one were told in no uncertain terms by teacher that they were no longer in the nursery and would behave as schoolchildren,no running around,no raised voices, no asking to use the toilet and so it went on,while we listened nearly in tears to our lovely children who all loved nursery being programmed,awful!

  12. Yes sometimes children put us in awkward situations.I think we should all jump for joy now and then. Thanks for visiting I will return the visit.

  13. Great post, Anne! It seems cruel to curb children's emotions like that, but could you imagine a society with no behavioural restraints? In fact, I've seen plenty adults throw childish tantrums or have a complete inability to deal with their emotions...

    To answer your first question, I last jumped for joy two days ago when Colin found my glasses in his boxer drawer. They'd been missing for months! :)

  14. My first question could be,"How did they get there?" but I won't ask it. We all need to learn to curb those neagtive feeings while still jumping for joy.


I'd love you to leave a comment, it would make me smile.If you leave one I will always reply to you.