I’m definitely a glass-is-half-empty kind of gal. Especially when it’s wine—then someone usually refills it.
People often say, “Why can’t you be more positive?” Here’s the thing: Bug off.
If you’d like me to change, there are much better ways to phrase it than “Why can’t you be more…”
That is just an all-around bad way to ask people to do something. I’ll go as far as to say you’re not asking them anything—you’re sugar-coating an insult.
Not sure about that one? Let me put it into a different context. When you’re a parent, you do not say to your child “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “Why can’t you be more athletic?”
You just don’t.
You might say “Did you see how your sister waited patiently in line? She likes to read the names of all the candy bars. Why don’t you try that?” Or “I know you don’t like basketball, soccer, or football but have you thought about karate or fencing or dance?”
So, instead of “Why can’t you be more…” try something else.
“We don’t have any more Chardonnay but, when you finish that, we have a whole bottle of Riesling.”
Last week, while reading a history book with my son, we saw a sidebar about Confucius stating that he advocated family loyalty and kindness.
This confused my son. He asked about unkindness within families.
I debated what to say.
I don’t put rose-colored glasses on my children. The world is not pink.
However, there is only so much information they need. When one of my boys asks me something, there is a split second where my mind quickly determines how to answer by factoring in his chronological age, his emotional age, and his sensitivity. I go from there.
So, with my 8-yr-old, I simply said, “Some families treat each other badly. They are…not very nice to each other.”
To which he cried and said, “Like if you don’t get a birthday card from your parents? Because that would be awful. Cards are a wish for good things and, I don’t know, it means ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m thinking of you’.”
He continued, “So ‘unkind’ like if your father never wrote you a card?”
Yes. Just like that.
Can I bottle this innocent beauty? Just for a few more years…
A typical note for my kids.
If, for my son, not ever receiving a handwritten note is what it means for family to be cruel,
I’m not going to correct him. Not right now.
We no longer need to hold onto the hope we embraced throughout the winter.
Spring is finally here. We excitedly listen to hear the chirping of the birds during breakfast. The kids trade their sleds for scooters, get out bikes and blow bubbles. There is still a chill in the air, but we venture out for walks on paths that were covered with snow just one week ago.
Piles of snow still remain but patches of grass are now visible. We are starting to see plants we knew were there, somewhere, beneath the frozen ground. We search for sprouts, discover tiny buds on the tips of branches, marvel at a slender blade of grass breaking through clumps of heavy earth. Birds are nesting. We crouch down to study seedlings and peek up to see hatchlings. There is new life everywhere we turn.
Hope surrounds us.
This is a time of beginnings.
We are being offered a fresh start. Spring cleaning removes dust, dirt, and clutter from our homes. The debris that has accumulated over the cold months can be swept away, leaving an inviting space. Our external environment affects our internal one. In this way, we are helping clear our minds as well.
This is a time of balance.
On the equinox, day and night are of equal length as the sun crosses the equator. Today, we experience the same amount of darkness and light—outside and within ourselves. Take a moment to meditate, to reset. Adjust any imbalances you feel.
Bring ideas out into the open. Breathe life into them. Write. Paint. Take up a sport. Begin that project you’ve been talking about for months (or years). Rejuvenate yourself. Watch the world around you grow, and allow your dreams to grow with them.
Whether you’re having a full-blown panic attack or simply feeling a bit overwhelmed, you could stand to get rid of some stress in your life. I just know it.
Many articles I read suggest the same thing: unplug.
They advocate silencing your phone, getting rid of your apps, turning off alerts.
So here’s what I’m doing: I’m keeping everything and keeping it on.
Turning all these off makes me anxious. I worry whether that appointment is today and, if so, what time it is and, crap, what if I’m late because we’re playing Boggle. What if I miss that call, text, or email I’ve been waiting for?
If I set my phone up to check my email, guess what I’m not doing? If I set it up to alert me an hour before an appointment, I can be in the moment because I won’t be watching the clock. It gives me peace of mind.
Am I relying too much on my phone? You bet. But, for now, it’s working.
There are times I need a break—I mute my phone or turn it off completely. I get it. I really do. But, sometimes, reducing my stress means not unplugging.
I am polite. Too polite. Is there such a thing? I’m not sure but I do have a friend who jokes that I would write a thank you note to someone who wrote me a thank you note. I don’t know where she got that idea. (I’ve done it.)
I always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I’ve taught my children to do so as well.
Moving on to social media. When I tweet someone’s post, it’s nice to receive a “thanks”. But it’s okay if I don’t. Some people retweet the shout-out. Or reply. Or favorite. Or tweet something of mine.
There’s no “right” way to handle this. I’ve read contradictory advice on what to do (I’m sure you’re shocked). Some recommend thanking. Others, reciprocation. Others suggest it’s not necessary to do anything.
I will say that if I scroll through someone’s timeline and see nothing, nothing, but “thanks, @schmoopypoo!” “thanks, @pumpkinhead!” “thanks, @ilovechocolate!” and on and on and on, I have no idea who this person is or what he or she is interested in.
I think you should thank but, on Twitter, there are several ways of doing this. How do you decide when and how to thank?
I just returned from vacation during which I witnessed a lot of ugliness.
With all the talk about compassion saturating the blogosphere, I’m still wondering what world my children will live in. I don’t know if anything has changed.
I hope much has changed. I hope people who are compassionate have discovered they are not alone. I hope people who are not compassionate read something that helps them act with more kindness.
When I think of compassion, I think of all living things. Of all parts of the world. Of my friends and family.
And, yes, especially my own children.
Although my thoughts reach across the globe, I live here. With my children. While they are no more or less deserving of compassion than others, they are closer to me in all ways. (Also, I am a mother. Our lot can be a wildly protective one.)
As we celebrate Read Across America today, I look at my children’s copies of Oh, the Places You’ll Go. This book describes the world as wonderful and confusing and beautiful and scary. This is all true. But if there is more compassion, I will worry less about what places my children will go.
Dr. Seuss Day
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.