Attitude of Gratitude

Yesterday when my children got in the car to go somewhere one of them started complaining because someone else had ridden in the front seat and moved the seat position. This required the child to have to readjust the seat to his preferred settings.

Ok. Let’s examine exactly how much work was involved in the inconvenience this child was faced with. He had to take his hand, reach down beside the seat and push a button and hold it for a few seconds until the seat back moved into its upright position. We’re talking a couple seconds of work and very little effort expended.

I was really annoyed with this kid. I mean really. Throwing a fit over something so trivial? So I went into mom lecture mode. I asked him how hard it was to correct the seat? It wasn’t like he was being asked to move heavy boulders or to walk uphill both ways in the snow barefoot to school! He wasn’t being forced to do some hard labor outside in the blistering heat! I mean really. He had to PUSH A BUTTON!

I then explained to him that the last person to ride in that seat was the person I took to the hospital with appendicitis. I’m sure he moved the seat because he was in pain and it was more comfortable to ride to the hospital reclined than sitting upright! I mean seriously! Think about why the seat was moved. Can you cut me some slack here? It wasn’t that the seat was moved just to annoy you. There was no plot or plan to see how we could make this child’s life miserable today. Hmmm…let’s see. I’m going to move the seat position today. That should do it!

I think my son got the message I was making about the outburst he had over something so trivial, at least I hope he did. But it started me to wondering. How many times do we overreact to things that are equally as trivial as if someone had intentionally planned to do something to ruin our lives!

I’m sure you can think of something. How about that driver that just has to cut you off then slows down and makes you miss that light making you late for wherever you were headed. I’m sure they did that on purpose! We certainly respond like it was a personal attack designed just to be mean. What about standing in line to purchase something and the person being checked out has that one item with no tag so they have to do a price check. We are annoyed. We are frustrated. We can even be rude and angry like these people did these things to us on purpose! How dare they! I mean don’t they know to check the items for price tags before coming up front. I mean really now. I’ve never done that. Oh, yeah. Well, maybe sometime there was that one thing I had with no tag, that one time.

I don’t know about you but I know at my house we often have a rotten attitude about things. We need to develop an attitude of gratitude. Instead of being annoyed and angry because we had to reposition our seat how about thanking God that we only have to push a button to make the adjustment! Instead of being angry that we got delayed at a red light how about being thankful for that extra minute or two for us to take a deep breath and work on adjusting our attitude rather than showing up rushed and angry? How about being thankful we’re driving a car and not having to walk!

I know I’m often as guilty of this as my kids are but I am trying to change that. I’m trying to find the positive in everything that happens even when it seems there is nothing positive. I think changing my attitude and my outlook on life will affect everything around me and everyone around me. I believe I have the power to choose in life whether I will be miserable and unhappy or find the joy in every situation. It isn’t always easy but I know it can be done and when you do, you will find that life is much more enjoyable and people enjoy being around you more.

I know some of you are probably not quite convinced yet that you can find the positive in any situation so let me share with you a day I will never forget. In 2008 on Valentine’s Day,  my husband committed suicide and left me a single mother of six children. I hadn’t worked in 13 years outside the home and I was facing the worst days of my life! My children were all sitting around moping only a couple days after their father’s death and I had a choice to make. How were we going to get through this? Were we going to be miserable and fall apart and moan and grieve for a long time or were we going to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get on with the life we are now facing?

I thought for a moment and I said to my children, “Where is your father?” They said, “In Heaven.” Ok. “Is that a good place for him?” They all agreed it was the best place. Ok then. “Dad is where he’s supposed to be and we’re sad because he’s gone and we’re still here. He’s not crying over us so we’re going to miss him but we’re going to look for the good things that are going to come out of this. Yes. We’ll miss him and we may be sad but we need to remember that he’s better off now and he wouldn’t want us being miserable so what do we have to be thankful for?”

My middle son immediately piped up, “Mom, we don’t need a new car now.” I told him he was absolutely right. We had 8 people and only 7 seats and we were looking at purchasing a larger vehicle but didn’t have the money so we were fretting over the decision. Problem solved! We get to save money and stop looking for that new car.

Another child said, “Mom, we can now park in single parent parking at church!” Amen! Great. Now we don’t have to arrive so early to get a good parking spot. We have reserved parking right up front! Now we’re talking.

I cannot remember all the things the kids came up with but we had several things. We found things to be grateful for in the midst of the worst time of our lives. Now, if we can find reasons to be happy and have a good attitude during something like that then the rest should be easy! It just takes a little effort but I know you can find something positive!

I know I’m going to keep working on my attitude of gratitude.