“Mom, how could you write this?” I exclaimed.
After asking my mom if I could read my baby book, I stomped down to the kitchen, the pages flapping against the book cover in protest.
“How could you write my seventh birthday party was fun?”
I recounted my version of the party’s events, which included my verbal frustration with my seven-year-old party guests–some of whom persuaded me to invite them when I should have checked with my mom first–who thought jumping on my sister’s bed with her in it was a wonderful party game. When apologies expressed to these “friends” the next day were not accepted with the same enthusiasm as their self-imposed party invitations, I learned a few valuable lessons!
But, I was about to learn another one.
Mom calmly explained to me she knew the party was one neither of us had enjoyed. Still, she did not want our negative feelings recorded forever in my baby book. She wanted us to remember the good parts about it, few as they may have been.
I remained skeptical.
I remember an entirely different occasion ten years later when my mom shared this insight in a new way. For many reasons, I was not a fun person at that time. Mom told me as much, but encouraged me to break this cycle.
“Every day, think of one good thing that happened.”
Again I was skeptical. But, I tried it. Eventually, focusing on the “one good thing every day” helped allay my tendency to ruminate on my not-so-fun experiences.
I have shared my mother’s wisdom with my sons when I see them struggling with past experiences. One of my goals for them this year is to focus on one good thing every day. I plan to do the same. Obviously, the seven-year-old and seventeen-year-old in me still needs an occasional refocus! My record of One Good Thing Every Day will appear on my blog weekly if not daily in the coming year.