Early in his seminal work, The Road Less Traveled, Scott Peck used words linked to the Buddha’s Noble Truths:
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
This insight helped me greatly as a young adult, changed me permanently for the better in fact. With that perspective, I had a whole different and more helpful baseline from which to interpret things in my life that didn’t go my way.
This perspective also inspired one of my life objectives: to nurture, maintain, and share a positive attitude ALWAYS, or at least as nearly as always, as I could. 28 years later, I’m still working at it, now with three particular little people to focus this positive energy toward: my children.
Your attitude directly effects everyone (and I would suggest “everything” too) that is around you. This fact is especially true if you have kids.
Every day parents have the opportunity to help their children start the day off on the right foot, in the morning as the day begins. Parents have tremendous influence, modeling, teaching, encouraging their children to make a good start to the day and to have a good attitude.
Most every work morning at our house, here’s how it shakes down.
I get up very early on workdays. I’m the taxi service for the kids to daycare in the morning, and have to be in the office about 30 miles away by seven o’clock.
I attend to a couple quick morning chores and go through my “get-ready” routine. It takes about 35 minutes. I take the kids’ bag, my workbag, and my lunch out to the car.
My wife and I then team up to get the kids ready, which amounts to getting another layer of clothes on them (they’re still in their pajamas), so they can stay cozy during the pre-dawn car ride.
If we think we struggle with starting our day, most parents would agree I bet that kids have an even harder time. Here’s where I try to help them ease into the day, and shift their sleepy grumpiness to try and be positive.
I use quiet tones as I talk to them. I whisper positive, reassuring words to shore up their fragile morning mood, patting each little back as I carry them to the car and buckle them in. I try to use empathy and references to their having a good attitude and how it helps our shared mission of getting out of the house on-time.
I might mention the clouds, the stars, the streetlight, a morning dove singing in the tree in the front yard, or other nice parts of the day beginning, how these tidbits indicate there’s a good day ahead with fun to be had. My intent is to help them broaden their awareness of the day beginning to unfold, and give them a little hope.
And it’s hope that is the cornerstone of having and maintaining a positive attitude, and getting back to good space when we inevitably falter under the weight of the day to day.
Especially when your start your day before dawn, with little people, doing what you can to help them cultivate their own positive attitude that will serve them well over the course of their lives.
“Look at that honey, it’s the Milky Way. I bet it’s going to be a good day.”
Choose wisely. Choose to have a good attitude to start the day, especially for your kids. And watch the magic unfold.