There’s an open door…

What a weekend! I hope you all enjoyed the time off, and if you weren’t able to have the time off, I hope you were at least able to soak up some sun and recharge a little bit.

We had a long weekend of celebration and family. Every year we go to my hometown and hang out at the community “Paul Bunyan Days”. It’s a celebration of the history and culture of a small logging town. There’s all kinds of entertainment like logging events, parades, fireworks, carnival rides, vendor booths, a quilt show, a car show, and so much more. The entire 3 days has something to do almost 24/7.

Our family gets together and camps out at my parents house for the weekend. Sometimes there’s extended family, and other times it’s just close family. This year was a smaller crowd but it was just as much fun as any other year.

During these gatherings and community events, there are always times when things don’t quite go as planned. My morning journaling reminded me that just because something goes wrong, doesn’t mean something won’t go right. These times also give me an opportunity to remind others of gratitude for all things.

My children have been taught to focus on gratitude.

A perfect example of things not going your way happened this weekend, multiple times. To spare you the pre-teen drama of multiple occasions of “the world is ending”, I’ll just share one example and how I helped my daughter turn it around and see the open door of happiness.

The carnival rides were in town and I had promised my daughter that she could go on some of the rides over the weekend. We decided to go the night of the big fireworks show. Apparently me and the 20,000 people who were in town for the weekend decided that would be the best night for the carnival rides as well. We wandered the carnival for about an hour, watching the lines for the rides get longer instead of shorter. My daughter became very emotional because her expectations were being totally crushed and I was beginning to loose my patience.

Tool #1 I used, the distraction method. It goes something like this, “Why don’t we play a few carnival games and then swing back around to see if the lines are smaller?” Great idea, right? Except that the emotional level of my child had already reached a critical point so each time we played a game, and she lost, she would stomp off to the side, throw a mini tantrum, and begin to cry.

Now, you might think, “Oh, poor thing. She’s so sensitive.” No, she was being ungrateful.

Tool #2, the take something away method. “If you don’t stop acting like this, I’m going to give your carnival tickets to some other child who wants to be here.” Not a fine mom moment. Tool #2 comes out because I get frustrated and don’t take the time to really think things through.

Tool #3, threaten to leave. Here comes the downward spiral for both of us. Now neither one of us wants to be there.

After rolled eyes, threats, dirty looks, stomping around, and snapping at each other, we left the carnival without having gone on any rides or winning any great prizes.

Tool #4 – GRATITUDE (this should ALWAYS be tool #1)

The next day my daughter and I sat down together and decided to practice some gratitude around what happened. It took a while for her because she was still mad, but eventually we came up with a good list.

#1 – I am grateful I got to spend time walking around with my mom and Aunt.

#2 – I am grateful that I didn’t have to stand in line for hours.

#3 – I am grateful that we even got to go to the carnival.

#4 – I am grateful the carnival wasn’t over and we got to go the next day.

There were a few more things, but these were the best. We went to the carnival that day, got to ride a few rides, came home with two new goldfish friends from the carnival games, and when we were done we gave our extra tickets to a little boy and his family.

There were many shut doors, even slammed in our faces, the first time we went. But the second time we could see the open doors for fun and good times and we were able to pay it forward to another family so that they could have fun.

How often do you look at things with a grateful mindset?

One Comment on “There’s an open door…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: