Most of the parents I work with struggle to look at the bright side of the challenges they face with their children.
“What bright side?” they might ask. “Because all I see are fits, meltdowns, and embarrassing charades.”
These parents feel defeated because nothing they have tried has worked. They’re embarrassed and feel judged because of the ways their child behaves in public or at family gatherings.
Often, when I talk with them on the phone, I can tell they are holding back tears that threaten to spill out as they share about the challenges they face on a daily basis.
I felt like this too.
But then I did something that drastically changed my life.
This simple (and free) thing didn’t change my son’s behavior, but it did change ME!
What I’m talking about is a gratitude journal.
I began writing down a few things each day that I was thankful for, and the more I did it, the more I realized my attitude was changing.
It wasn’t that there were more things to be grateful for. Instead, it was that I NOTICED the things that were already there.
I started looking for things to write in my journal, and this process helped me to find more and more blessings in my life.
One especially difficult day, I remember sitting down to write in my journal and re-thinking all of the events of the day. I started thinking about my son’s rigid thinking. This kid would NOT take no for an answer and just pushed and pushed and pushed if he didn’t get his way.
As I reflected on this from a place of gratitude, I realized that this rigid thinking – this strong-willed behavior – is also a blessing. My son is persistent!
So, I could focus on his rigid thinking….or I could focus on his persistence. It’s the same character quality, but a different way of looking at it.
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis helped me change my perspective. It helped me think things like…
“My child isn’t where I want him to be YET, but we are further along in this journey today than we were yesterday.”
Gratitude doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it DOES change the way you view them.
So, my challenge to you today is to start a gratitude journal. Grab a notebook and start writing each day a few things you are grateful for.
And as always, I am not a medical doctor and the above post is based on my experience. No information on this site should be relied upon to make a medical diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or medical condition.