Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Looking for the Good

For some people, seeing the good in life comes easy. For others, seeing the good is difficult. And for still others, they spend a good chunk of their lives trying to move out of the second group and into the first group.

I would be that last group. I'm sure I spent some time in my younger life being able to see some good in life, but really? It was so much easier to just complain about what sucked, rather then trying to make it better.

I have no idea when it all started to change for me. I know the Air Force played a huge roll in the transition (thank you forever from the bottom of my heart Uncle Billy and Aunt Tammy), as did all of the people who have entered (and excited) my lives because of it. So I am thankful. And grateful. And all that other happy stuff.

Except that my daughter seems to have inherited my vision when it comes to seeing the good in things.

Most days it's no big deal, just a small comment here or there. But lately (and I fear more so as the teen years approach way too quickly), this inability to see the good seems to be taking longer to recover from.

Today was the last straw for me. I couldn't take it, and I was going to win today's battle!

Find the Good

After spending a long while working on a project in her room, Emma came out all mopey, angry, and full of attitude. When I asked her what was wrong, she went on about how her project didn't come out and how horrible it was. I told her I was sorry to hear that, but why didn't it work, etc, trying to see if I could help her make it better.

I can't remember exactly what happened (I was trying to study my business law stuff), but I asked her, "Can you think of anything good to say about your project?"

I'm thinking something along the lines of, "Well, it was fun while I was making it," or some such comment.

All I got was more attitude, more moping, more angry complaints. So I sent her to her room until she could think of something nice to say about her project.

No lie, she spent over 90 minutes in there. Every time she wandered out, I asked if she had anything good to say about her project. I usually got a huff and her back as she headed back to her room.

At one point she started to cry (forced fake tears mind you, they stopped as soon as she was out of ear shot).

Yes, this is Emma I'm talking about.

I started to wonder if she would ever make it out of her room. When she whined that she was hungry, I told her, "I will make you something to eat, and you will eat it in your room without complaint. Unless you've thought of something good to say and are ready to come out."

More huffing and this time a screech (though not loud enough to bother the neighbors) of, "I DON"T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!"

I suggested she write some ideas down.

A few minutes later I went in to have a sit down chat with her, but she asked me to come back as she was writing down an idea.

Then she walked out and handed me this.

It was prite gud for the frst tri.
(It was pretty good for the first try)
*clicking on the picture makes it bigger, I think*

That was all I wanted. Just for her to realize that, despite the fact that her project didn't come out how she had envisioned, she didn't need to waste over 90 minutes of her life being upset by it. 

And it was amazing how instantly her mood was better. Seriously crazy. Just by changing the way she was thinking about it (and being allowed out of her room didn't hurt). 

Then I decided to do an impromptu exercise. I had her look around our living room and pick 5 things, 2 of which she didn't really like. She picked out 5 things, I wrote them down, leaving space under each word. Once she picked her 5, we started at the top and I had her tell me something good about each item. Here is our list (in her words). 

1. Sofia Paper Girl: An old book was turned into a beautiful thing. 
2. Shell Casing: They use to protect us. 
3. Colored wires behind T.V.: They make our T.V. work.
The last two were tough. I had to help her work these two out a bit. 

4. Dust on the light (shade): E-"We love our light and use it?" M- "Well, we do use it, but it's still dusty. Why is the dust there, what don't we do?" E- "We don't dust. Why don't we dust?" M-"What do we do instead of dusting?" E- "Homeschooling?" M- "Well, yeah, but do we usually do a lot of other fun things instead of cleaning?" E- "Oh, so we spend our time doing horse lessons instead of dusting!"

5. Dirty Windows- This one was along the same lines as the dust thing (though the landlord is suppose to have the outside of the windows cleaned). We talked about it for a few minutes, then I asked her, as she was squinting at me because the sun was blinding her, "What would it be like in here if the windows were not dirty?" E- "Dirty windows mean the sunlight doesn't blind us!"

After that I picked two more for her to do, but I wanted 2 different answers for both. 
1. Stuck in a long line of traffic. 1a. People are out and about and some might be learning. 1b. (after some discussion), I get to listen to music. 
2. There are a lot of kids at the park (she hates this). 2a. People are getting exercise. 2b. I can meet new friends. 

I think that this will become a regular exercise in our house. Whenever is seems she (or any of us) loses sight of the good in things, we will make up a new list. 

Phew, this was a long one! Thanks for sticking around. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend (again)!

Walking 3Jul13 (1)


  1. love it! you are such a good momma and a great teacher!

  2. Hurrah for both of you. What a fine story. I do love seeing the good in people, places, I worry that I sometimes myself though. I catch myself saying things like, "I cannot do that." I have been trying to cut that out. I certainly do not want to be a poor example for Emma. Have a great July. Love, Mom

  3. You are doing a great job being mother and teacher. Emma is blessed!


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