As every parent of a teenager knows, the key to a good fuss is the wind up. You have to lean back and take a deep breath before you start because it takes a lot of energy and you can’t show any signs of wavering. Teenagers can smell insincerity a mile away. This tiny window of weakness gives them just enough time to employ whatever tactic they have found to derail the fuss. Smelly Monster #2 usually talks in his Nacho Lebre voice or his Irish brogue to make me laugh.
During a recent trip to “Wally World” on a Saturday (my first mistake) with Smelly Monster #2, I was winding up for a fuss. I was cranky and grumpy AND at “Wally World” on Saturday. Not a good combination. SM #2 doesn’t like it when I pull the cart from the front while he is supposed to be pushing it from the back. In my defense, he only has three speeds: turtle, snail and slug. He was somewhere between snail and slug that day. I pulled as he was trying to push and we were at immediately at odds. This was the culmination of a day of frustrations. I was over it. I leaned back and took a deep breath. At that same moment Smelly Monster #2’s eyes became as large as saucers. It was like slow motion took over and I looked up just in time to be hit squarely in the head by a 12 pack of paper towels that had fallen from the top shelf. Not sure how to react, we both stood there looking at each other as a second package pelted me on the head.
Parenting tip #27: When you know you have lost the upper hand give in gracefully.
At that point there was nothing else to do but laugh. My favorite part of the story is when SM#2 came around the cart and gave me a hug and said, “I guess we should be thankful that we weren’t in the bowling ball section!”
The Bible says to “give thanks always for all things.” Ephesian 5:20
Ick, gag, ugg! This is not my favorite principle. However, I have learned that a thankful spirit and attitude changes everything. Grief is an overwhelming emotion and it clouds and blurs everything in our lives. Cultivating a thankful, grateful spirit helps us bring things into focus.
Here are 3 steps to cultivating a grateful spirit.
- Remember past blessings. Lamentations 3:20-21 The current situation may be painful and difficult but I bet you can list 10 things right off the top of your head that are blessings from your past. Good times with you lost loved one. Happy events with your friends. Simple gifts that lifted your spirit. Write them out and remember.
- Notice new blessings. Because of the blur and cloud of pain you are living in, you can miss good things happening all around. Psalm 28:7 God is continuing to give you strength and sustain you. Really look around and notice those current blessings.
- Choose to be thankful and grateful. Many times we have to take action first and then our emotions follow. Psalm 118:24 This small choice can change your entire life. Why just survive when you can thrive?
I wonder if God found falling paper towels as funny as my Smelly Monster? I am thankful that we were not in the bowling ball section.
Since today is Thanksgiving take a minute and post at least one thing below in the comments you are thankful for today. I hope you have a great day with family and friends.