If you didn’t catch WEEK ONE about intuition, check it out here.
I’m loving this project because I have committed to writing each week and all week long I’m thinking about the topics I’ve chosen to share with you. I hope you can take some nuggets out for your life!
As a kid, if I had a dollar for every time I heard my dad say, “attitude is everything” I would have hadthose Sasoon Jeans I wanted so badly.
When my dad reviewed my report card, he focused first on the mark I received for effort. You know the one where O = Outstanding, S = Satisfactory and U = Unsatisfactory? I can hear him telling me that more important than the grades I received, was the effort I gave. This constant reminder about attitude and effort is ingrained in me.
How do we help our kids have a good attitude and give their best effort?
What do we do when they have a bad attitude and don’t want to give the effort?
What do we do when we have a bad attitude and don’t want to give the effort?
We live in a performance driven world with instant gratification everywhere. So delayed gratification, hard work, things now working out the way we hope, when it seems it is for everyone else (hello social media) can be hard to cope with.
Best effort is easier to come by when we have a good attitude. But let’s be honest, that is not always easy. Lately, for me, to tell you the truth, I’ve been struggling to find the joy and have a good attitude about certain things in my life.
On Tuesday, I was at the pool with my boys, Blake and Chase, for their swimming lessons. Since I had a work trip in the coming days, I told them we’d stay after swim class and swim together. I had Bodey with me too. Bodey is my three-year-old son with Muscular Dystrophy. He doesn’t walk or talk or sufficiently hold his body up on his own (though he’s making slow and steady progress). So for an hour+ I held my 43 pound boy in the water. Bodey loved being in the water and my boys loved showing me their newest swimming skills.
After about 30 minutes my arms started burning. And my attitude sucked. I looked around and saw moms with kids much younger than Bodey sitting playing with water toy with their kids or sitting in the sun as they watched their children play and splash together in the zero-entry pool. I had a little pity party for myself and then the thought crossed my mind:
My attitude goes dark when I’m comparing myself to others.
When I start looking around at what seemed like a better, easier existence, I felt crabby. In those moments, I’m judging myself with such scrutiny and making all kinds of assumptions about women I don’t even know.
So how do we help our kids and ourselves to have a good attitude?
It’s so true that our days are as good or as bad as we decide them to be. And when we let our negative emotions and feelings run our days or moments, we miss out on the really good, juicy love that is filling our life.
Our minds are so powerful. We can reframe our circumstances and literally create a better attitude. This is such an important practice to learn ourselves and to help our kids with too.
No, I’m not saying we ignore our feelings or stuff our disappointments. YES we need to acknowledge them because life is hard. But we DO have the power to make something easy or hard based on how think about it.
Here’s some guidelines for dealing with bad attitudes:
#1: Acknowledge their feelings. Is homework hard, did they not make the team, or get invited to a birthday party. Did you take away their iPad, is today not a good day to have friends over?
I gloss over this part too often when dealing with my kids. I erupt in frustration instead of asking them why they are upset or copping an attitude. So let’s give some grace and listen for a few minutes.
#2: :Encourage them to reframe the hard thing in front of them. Remind them that effort and attitude is so much more important than the actual thing they want. We will likely have to repeat this many, many times.
“Yes, this is hard but I’m going to give it my best effort.”
“I’m disappointed I didn’t get invited, but I get to go spend time with my family at the pool.”
“I want my iPad, but I’ll put it down for now and have some time with it later.”
“I didn’t make the team, but I have a healthy body and heart and there are so many other things I can do.”
Is any of this easy? Not really. Is it an instant fix? Nope. And when we are dealing with our kids, it can be pretty frustrating. Heck when we are dealing with ourselves it can be. Remember this is a practice and it takes time to make it a habit.
#3: Find someone your kids really like or admire who models this way of living. Talk about that person. Talk about why that person is successful and what it took for them to get there. Remind them there isn't overnight success. It's rather a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
#4: Encourage them to stay in their lane. This is hard for all of us, so start with yourself. Don’t worry about what others are up to, doing, saying, buying, accomplishing. They are not living your life, and you are not living theirs.
#5: Remind your child that there are consequences for bad attitudes and don’t be afraid to tow the line. At the same time, when they display a good attitude and positive thinking when life doesn’t happen as they hoped, reward them and encourage them.
#6: Model this. Model a good attitude when things aren’t so great, when life is frustrating. Remember you are powerful enough to create a good or bad day based on how you look at it.
I love this picture. The word speak for themselves.
Here's some articles you might want to check out for some more thoughts on this topic.
NEXT WEEK: Being a Student and a Teacher