You know when you’re
bossing encouraging someone else about their life and you realize it’s YOU who needs the words most?
As a coach who helps people get their joy back, that was me earlier this week. (I shared about it here). Today, my friend and guest blogger Jennifer Janes shares her recent encounter with her own lessons—Anyone raising kids will be able to relate!
I have been trying to become more intentional in how I parent my children. My time with them is short and goes quickly. Character training has been on my heart for a long time, so I finally made the decision to be deliberate and use a program to help me stay on track.
We started working on character development the day we started the new school year. Not long after that, we started working on the trait of perseverance. My daughters began to see what the word really means as they tackled long division and creative writing assignments. Which is just about when I realized these character-building moments were as much for me as for them!
One day as I sat across the table from my younger daughter. She was crying over a math worksheet, and my older daughter sat a few feet away, grumbling about one of her assignments and how long it was taking. As I reminded each of them to be diligent and to persevere, I blurted out, “Both of you are spending so much time crying and complaining about your school work today! It’s taking you three times as long as it should for you to finish it!”
Oh! How I stewed about their bad attitudes! Until my thoughts turned, as they often do, to situations I’ve whined about that frustrate and concern me. It hit me hard: I’m spending so much time worrying and fretting over these situations that I’m missing out on the blessings of today, too!
How often do I think negatively about a situation and find myself in a grumpy mood? How many times have I harbored negative emotions toward someone and found it impossible to behave in a loving way toward them? How frequently do I find negative words coming out of my mouth because my thought life needs a serious makeover? Too often.
The more I try to instill these principles in my children, the more I realize that I need to work on them myself.
I live with fear, anxiety, worry, hopelessness, and despair because I allow them to remain in my mind day after day. I choose to give up on faith and hope and end up throwing away my own joy. While I teach my children to have a positive mindset about their school work, I need to work on my thought patterns concerning the challenges that come my way every day.
Changing established thought patterns is hard work! It requires vigilance and constant redirection toward the types of thoughts we want to stay focused on.
As I fight my own thought battles, I’m more compassionate when helping my children overcome their negative mindsets. I’m also more understanding when I run across people who are very negative and critical. We’re all fighting a battle, after all. That battle in our minds.
How are you doing in that battle for a positive mindset today?
Jennifer A. Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband of eleven years, two beautiful daughters, two cats, and two pet mice. Her younger daughter’s special needs have made her life more of an adventure than she ever anticipated, but she’s finally learning to relax and “embrace the crazy.” Jennifer blogs at her own site and is a regular contributor at The Homeschool Village and the Home Educating Family blog. She led a meet-up for parents of kids with special needs at The 2:1 Conference in April 2012.