I haven't always been on the most optimistic or positive person. The older I get, though, the more glass-half-full I become. After all, my kids are always watching and listening so my mood and outlook directly affects theirs. I don't want to be the one always thinking of what could go wrong. However difficult it can be to embrace looking on the bright side, there are signs your positivity is rubbing off on your kids that make it more than worth the extra effort.
My husband is our family's positive source for all things light-hearted and uplifting, while I'm definitely more of a realist. It's a tricky balance, if only because I want my kids to remember me for more than my poignant observations of how quickly life can go south. When they think back on their lives and how I played a roll in both of them, I'd love for my children to associate me with being their sunshine on a stormy day and not, you know, the storm itself.
Having said that, thinking positive has taken a lot of practice and, well, some days I fail miserably. Those days are usually when I start looking for the following signs that my positivity is actually rubbing off on my kids, so I can continue to put in the work to see my glass for what it is: full.
They Start Each Day Hoping For The Best
For the most part, my kids are naturally happy in the mornings and even when their sleep isn't great. I'm the first to admit that I'm not a morning person in the slightest. I hate the morning, actually. The moment I open my eyes each day — and while I try to practice gratitude for, you know, being alive — there's always a heavy feeling of trepidation for what the day might bring. It's scary not to know. Try as I might to practice believing we'll have a great day, it's usually not until I've had my coffee that things perk up a bit. Thanks, caffeine.
Thankfully, my kids must notice my continual mutterings when I attempt to trick myself into feeling a little more optimistic, and, sometimes, I catch them repeating the same things back to themselves. The point is, even when you think your kids aren't paying attention, they are.
They Wish Other People A Great Day
Even on my worst days, when I grab my latte at the coffee shop I'm polite and never miss the chance to wish everyone a good day. I've been on the receiving end of those type of jobs and, honestly, customers can be rude. I don't want to be a dreaded, gloomy cloud no one wants to serve. I want to leave an uplifting, hopeful impression — even with people I'll never see again.
Lately my kids have been acting the same; waving at workers whenever we leave somewhere or being particularly cheerful when greeting them. It may be a small gesture, but can make someone else's day a little bit brighter.
They Believe The Best In People
I'm a skeptic when it comes to new people. I have some major trust issues I've been working on for years, so it's hard for me to believe some people have genuinely good intentions. If one of my kids has an issue with a friend and has sour feelings about them, however, I've made it a point to set my own issues aside to teach them how to respond.
As a result, I've noticed how often my kids give people the benefit of the doubt — even at times when I think they shouldn't. I love this about them; that they're not scarred or jaded. They give others a genuine chance, always believing people are intrinsically good.
They Reason On The Hopeful Side
If someone cancels plans on me, I usually assume the worst. You know, something along the lines of "they hate me" or "they have something better to do" or "I don't matter." I'm working on it, though.
My kids, however, have a different system. If they're supposed to stay at a grandparent's house and the plans change, they'll say something like, "That's not what I was hoping, but I'm sure it was for good reason." It doesn't happen all the time because, you know, they're kids, but when they give such mature, thoughtful responses I know I've done something right.
They're Eager To Help Others
I must be doing something right, because my kids don't shirk their responsibilities. In fact, most of the time they do their chores (or any other random task) with a positive attitude. They like to work, and I think it's helped them build the confidence they need in order to accomplish other tasks. Maybe having a mom who works isn't such a bad thing after all.
They're Willing To Change Things Up
Due to my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety, my routines and schedules are everything to me. Over the years I've really tried to work on letting some things go when plans change, but it's not always easy. My children are very forgiving when I'm not always able to adjust to a change in plans, and sometimes they even lead the charge in helping me find stable ground when things deviate from a set schedule. If it weren't for their endless belief in me, and the good they believe I represent, I wouldn't have come as far as I have in any respect.
They Smile More Than They Frown
Aside from the days one child or the other is grumpy (and we all have those days), my kids are generally happy and well-adjusted. They laugh a lot, play well together, and can rarely be seen crying or throwing a tantrum in public (well, anymore that is). The fact that they're smiling so much, and are able to find the bright side in less than stellar situations, tells me maybe I'm more of an optimist than I've claimed to be.
Just don't tell anyone. You know, it'll ruin my reputation.