Do your children know how to make lemonade out of lemons?
“Regardless of how positive I am, crazy negative things continue to happen” said Collette, a new client who contacted me for help with her teenage son's behavior. “And” she added, “How can I expect my son to put in the effort to monitor and change his thoughts to create positive situations in his life when he sees these things happening?”
As I pondered Collette’s questions, I realized a disservice has been done to those who have subscribed to the belief that our success in all areas of life, whether it is operating a successful business or being a great parent, begins with our mindset.
Now, don’t misunderstand, our mindset is truly the most powerful part of our being. From the parenting perspective, teaching your children the power of their thoughts is what will enable them to create a life based on their heart’s desires.
Everything does in fact begin with a single thought.
The problem, as I shared with Collette, is that although we have the power to change our thoughts, our thoughts will not and cannot change all outside events. Our power comes from what we determine our perception and reaction will be to a particular situation or event. This is especially important for children to understand.
For example, my granddaughter had been working really hard on a science project. She had all the materials she needed lined up on the table next to her microscope. Problem being one was a live lizard!
Before she could securely examine this creepy little creature (I do NOT share my granddaughter’s love of these things!) it got away and quickly scurried to parts unknown in our home. Now this may seem humorous to some, but my granddaughter was devastated. Not only did the escaped lizard create havoc in our home, it also meant the delay of her experiment because some of her materials were time-sensitive liquid formulas that she had already prepared.
Thanks to our family cat, the lizard was eventually captured. But due to the nature of cats, the lizard was no longer a “live” specimen.
The entire fiasco left Kaitlyn feeling upset and frustrated.
At this point, the argument could be made that if Kaitlyn was happy, excited and looking forward (all positive thoughts and feelings) to doing this experiment then why did it not go smoothly?
This is where our real power is applied… our power to choose to see it as a negative OR choose to look at it from a positive perspective.
Because Kaitlyn has been raised to understand this concept and process she was able to quickly move from the negative mindset of being upset and frustrated to several positive thoughts and feelings.
Her first response was to realize and be grateful that we live in Florida where lizards are plentiful…acknowledging that some of the students (virtual class) had to purchase a live lizard where she simply had to go in our back yard and grab another one!
The next thing she focused on of course was the entertainment that she and her brother enjoyed while watching me run around the house shouting to the roof top that “someone had better catch that thing and FAST!”
And the last thing Kaitlyn chose to acknowledge was that as it turned out, the experiment was rather lengthy and had she begun when she intended (prior to the uncooperative lizard!) she would have had to miss out on attending Youth Group that evening. Because of the events that unfolded she decided to wait until the next day, catch a new lizard and begin in the morning when she had the time the experiment required. Her final words were… “It all happened for the best, now I won’t feel rushed.”
Most of us have heard the saying “turning lemons into lemonade”. It is usually in reference to someone taking an unwanted situation and either turning it into a positive situation or deciding to look at the negative situation as an opportunity to learn and do better.
What I conveyed to Collette was that we need to understand and convey to our children that we can’t expect all of life to always be free of struggles. Life can be messy and problematic. Stuff happens! However, we were all given the power of free will and because of that no one can control the actions or choices of another. We can only control our re-action and perception.
Learning to see negative outside events and choices of others as things that will not affect us unless we choose to allow them to is using our power to maintain a positive mindset.
Understanding the nature of our innate power in our own lives, the value in choosing to see things from a positive perspective, empowers us to live our life from a place of joy, bliss and happiness.
So when we are faced with a bushel of lemons, we see a great big pitcher filled with lemonade!