Wednesday, February 1, 2012

accentuate the positive


A few months ago, my middle son had started to come home from school with a list of negative things that had occurred through out the day. Each day the list seemed to grow until I could no longer bear to listen to his Eeyore-ish accounts. My son was becoming a carper of everyone and everything. When the new year began, I instituted a moratorium on the play-by- play of all of the activities and events that he counted as infractions against a good day. I gave him the task of looking for 5 good things each day-only 5- and reporting back to me. I promised I would do the same, as I had found myself succumbing to bouts of sustained complaining. Before bed, we would share our new findings and record them in a notebook. He admitted that it was difficult at first to seek out good points. But, it is amazing how shifting your perspective- looking for the positive, however small (even in a huge dung pile of negatives) can change your mood, your attitude, your outlook on life. You actually feel a little bit lighter, brighter, more aware. Everything cannot always be silver linings and rainbows; but, I am hoping to at least help him develop the recognition that alerts him when he is sliding into Crotchety Orneryville and give him the strength to back right on out of there.

Speaking of rainbows and crotchety kids- writing this reminded me of this picture from a trip to Niagara Falls a few years back. I was about to snap his picture when mist got in his eyes. He bent over and a rainbow magically shot out of his head ;-)


  1. He has good things shooting right out of his head and he doesn't even know it! :-) By the way, that was a fabulous idea to change his perspective on what he comes away from the day with.

    And your dog is uber-wise. Maybe it's a good thing he's helping to raise the baby?

  2. so did having him focus on the good things work? thanks amykins. needed to hear this today:)

  3. I love this one! It reminds me of a book I read about POSITIVITY by Barbara Fredrickson. She studies the science behind being positive. One thing that struck me was for every one negative, you have to have 5 positive's to cancel out that negative.

    I have done the same with my children...and MYSELF, when I get in a funk. As hard as it can be to journal, I know it always helps me realize that I am creating the illusion of clouds myself.

    LOVE your illustrations and the PICTURE! How cool was that?
    Have a beautiful week, friend!

  4. This is so great. I think we all have times like that, and it's so good to step back and focus on the positive.

    Love that photo! : )

  5. That's an amazing photo.
    I wish I'd done what you did when my boys were young and impressionable.

  6. Way to nip that negativity in the bud. Otherwise he will grow up to be like me :-) Great photo too!