Sunday, December 16, 2012

Choosing Happy

It was a lovely Saturday morning. The sun was shining, the wind hardly blowing (odd for Oklahoma), the temperatures pleasantly mild. I took my son Christmas shopping just a few weeks before the holiday. Yes, the stores were expectedly busy. And the area of town that we visited was congested as hundreds (thousands?) of other shoppers were out getting their holiday swag on.

It started early. And then it just seemed like it never stopped.
Oh man, another red light?
How slow are we going?
How many people are even at this store?
How many cars do we have to wait for until it's our turn?
I'm so hungry; can we have lunch?
How many more stores do we have to go to?
Why is the line so long?

Why are they taking so long?
I'm so hungry!
Can I have a drink?
Can I buy a toy?

The sun is too bright.
There's too many cars.
Do we have to go there?
Can't we be done?
Are we almost done?
Can we have lunch?
I'm tired.
I'm bored.
Oh my gosh, that light already turned red.

Dude. Holy crap. This was my 10 year old. He kvetches like an old woman. Nothing makes him happy! And his attitude was starting to bring me down.

"Hey! Enough. For me, just try something. Every time you start to think of something that's annoying you, think of something good in that moment, too. Can you do that for me?"

Because how in the world did this kid get so negative? I'm not that negative. I don't just focus on the crap all the time, I always look for the silver lining.

I told my daughter last week, you wake up in the morning and you have 2 choices to make: you can choose happy or you can choose not happy. Choosing happy is ultimately easier. And pretty soon you don't have to choose, it just becomes who you are. But happy takes work, so make that choice in each moment. Frustrated? Take a deep breath and choose happy. So far, it's working for her. Could it work for him?

"Yes, there are a lot of cars out here, but we're lucky enough to be out buying gifts for people whom we love. And yes we had to wait at a lot of red lights, but we are lucky enough not to have a car that dies at red lights."

"Did you ever have a car that dies at red lights, mom?"

"I sure did. And I'm thankful now that I don't. And you might be hungry, though I can't imagine why since you just ate breakfast an hour ago, but we can go out and get lunch when we're done shopping. So be thankful for that. For every negative or complaining thought that you have, you need to find the positive. So you're tired of shopping but be thankful that you're able to do it. And pretty soon, just leave off that first part and remember the thankful part."

He got quiet and looked out the window. Did it sink in? I guess we'll see.

Later that weekend, we were talking about an interaction he'd had with another kid, someone he sees once in a while, a kid who doesn't like to share and can be rude. "She was mean when we were playing that game, but at least I don't have to see her very often," he said. "You see what I did mom? I found the positive in that negative."

Well, I guess it did sink in -- sort of.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know what's better, your talk sinking in, or him asking him if you saw what he did there!