Johnny (not his real name), a first grader, has been given the consequence of walking around the track on the playground for the poor choices he made in the classroom throughout the morning.
His head drooped, his bottom lip stuck out, and he dragged his feet as he walked. I asked Johnny if I could walk with him and he slowly shook his head yes.
We didn't rehash what went wrong in the classroom. I praised him for accepting his consequence and for being responsible to walk while his classmates played during recess.
And then I asked him this question, "Who gets to choose what kind of an afternoon you're going to have?"
He cocked his head to the side and gave me a look like he wasn't sure, but he answered anyway, "Me?"
"Yes, you!" I responded. "You might have had a rough morning and didn't make good choices, but you have the power to turn it around. It's your choice on what kind of an afternoon you're going to have."
He smiled and shook his head.
Now I don't know what kind of an afternoon Johnny ended up having, but I do know this. He got it. He understood what I was telling him. I also know that he's going to need to be reminded the next time he has a tough day.
As adults we do the same thing. One thing goes wrong, then another, and then another. We think we're doomed to have a bad day, because nothing is going right.
It doesn't have to be that way though, because we have the choice to turn our day around, to see the silver lining in tough situations, and to understand that we dictate the kind of day we're going to have based upon our attitude.
Sometimes things happen that make our world seemingly spin out of control. A loved one dies, we're in a car accident, we lose our job, etc.
But we get to decide how we are going to respond. We can either wallow in our own self-pity, or we can do what Johnny did. He smiled and knew that everything was going to be okay.
I hope you go down Johnny's path. It seems like a pretty great choice to me. I just wanted to remind you of that.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.