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A parent’s view on teaching a child to get the most out of life

My daughter is very even tempered. In twelve years I have only seen her jumping up and down in excitement a few times. And only seen her truly upset a handful more. Most of her time she takes the ups and downs that life throws her way with a simple, matter of fact approach. This being the case, it is often hard to tell what my daughter is thinking and feeling inside. I have learned to read subtle cues to tell me when she is sad, happy, or frustrated.

As a result, I have had to change the way that I look at everyday occurrences and events. Where I used to get mad or frustrated when something bad happened, now I am more concerned with trying to figure out if she is okay. By the time I have her figured out, often my own feelings of frustration have subsided.

One way that we thrive as a family is that when something goes wrong, we try to find something good that came as a result. For example, we went to buy my daughter some shoes to go with her new dress. When we got to the local mall we realized the store we were heading to was closed for remodeling. We had to go to another store, where we happened to find some shoes that were exactly the same color as her dress. So, the fact that the original store was closed was actually a good thing, because it led us to a perfect match. Another time we went to eat at a restaurant and found it completely demolished, it was going to be rebuilt. Although we had to pick another restaurant that day, we ended up finding a restaurant that was showing a sporting event on TV that none of us had seen before.

Similarly, when a rock hit our windshield after I had asked my husband to make a detour on our trip to go to a store I wanted to visit I felt bad that we had taken that route. My husband pointed out that even though our windshield was cracked on this route we did not know what would have happened on the other route. Perhaps a serious accident would have been our fate on the other path. My daughter was quick to agree with her dad, and in her gentle way went back to reading her book as we continued on our trip.

These incidents are examples of how my family chooses to thrive as we make our way through everyday problems. We could simply survive them. Grumble about our bad luck or how horrible it was that this happened. But instead we choose to thrive. This is a lifestyle that my husband and I continue to teach our daughter every day. Thriving means seeing the good that is around you, not focusing on the bad. When bad things happen it can lead to better things, and that even when the worse happens you can still find support from your family. That we will not only get through it, but be a better person for having lived it. I see my daughter starting to search for the good in situations and feel that I am giving her a valuable tool to use as she heads into her teenage years.