Last night my family and I went to our local arcade/fun park. Everything started out great. We played putt putt golf, laser tag, video games, but right there at the end—the babies started to lose it.
Little-love didn’t get the toy she had wanted when we turned in their tickets. Cyclone was upset that the bumper-boats weren’t working.
You know, big-dramatic-bawl-your-eyes-out-scream-about-it type stuff.
Adam and I were furious.
“Seriously, we took you here, paid for everything, played with you and this is how you’re going to treat us on the way home?”
Lots of cranky in one vehicle.
After brushing teeth and going potty I crawled into bed with my still crying little boy and began my grand speech, explaining to him one of lifes biggest lessons:
“Cyclone, there are two types of people in the world.
Happy people, and angry people.
The only difference between the two is happy people choose to be happy. That’s it, just a choice.
It’s easy to be angry, that happens naturally. Being happy is a discipline, a choice, it takes more work.
Look at me, I could spend my whole life miserable. Missing my mom, wishing for my dad. But instead I’ve chosen to focus on the things I do have to be thankful for. Your Grandpa-Ed, and your Grandma-Krista, and your Uncle T-bone, Aunt-Sheena, and nephew Ronan.
I am so thankful for all of these people, and I wouldn’t have any of them if your Grandpa-Harvey and Grandma-Kathy were still alive.
I choose to focus on that. The happy, rather then the sad.
Remember those stories about kids who lived in countries without access to clean water, or healthy food. Remember how much those kids smiled at the cameras? They were choosing to be happy.
From now on, son. Whenever you notice yourself falling into an angry place I want you to stop, take a few deep breaths, and then find three things to be thankful for.
Things like: This awesome bed your dad built. The fact that you have such a great dad, and the fact that you are safe and warm, with a full-belly, and no real worries.”
(Here’s the unfortunate, and heartbreaking twist.)
“But mom,” he gasps through his still flowing tears, “You get mad. Like the other day at the office when we were playing, and you said you were ‘soooo hungry’. You were really mad then.”
(Oh, for shame.)
Not gonna lie, this cut me down pretty low. Right in the middle of my grand speech my boy points out that he has observed the very opposite behavior of the one that I’m so eagerly touting.
I know I have to work on this. (Not that I can’t get angry at my kids poor behavior, or can’t use a stern voice. . . or crazy-eyes) But also, not let those moments ruin my entire day. Taking the time to step back and breath, over and over. All day. Everyday.
I composed myself.
“Fair enough, buddy. I’m not perfect at this. I still have to remind myself all the time to choose joy. But you can help me, and I’ll help you. We can practice taking deep breaths together. I’ll try to set a better example but you gotta follow along. Lets choose to be a happy family, ok? It’s what God wants for us too. To find joy, to focus on all that’s good.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” James 1:2
“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” Psalm 107:43
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
We prayed together, thanking God for all the beautiful, lovely, joy filled areas of our lives and my son went to bed at least a little bit more at peace.
(I’m never going to that stupid arcade again!)