Sunday, December 20, 2009

"It's a Beautiful Day Out Here!"

These are the words spoken by my youngest the other day. It was 7:45 A.M. Eleven degrees. I was wrestling him into his car seat, trying to strap him in despite his puffy coat, hat that was crammed down over his eyes, mittens on upside-down, slush-covered pantlegs and one boot falling off.

I snapped to attention. Only moments before, I'd been silently griping to myself about my lost mittens, the icy air, the slush. I was annoyed that I had to scrape the car windows (again) and we were running late (again.) And it wasn't sunny outside, and I was cold.

How often do you comment on the weather these days? To friends, family, to your kids? How much of what you say is positive?

What does the winter season mean to you? To me, it means many different things: glorious shining snow, owls hooting, animal tracks and sledding...but I also think of being cold, of the flu, of hot uncomfortable coats, boots, slush, lost mittens, car-scraping and how we've gotta weatherproof our old drafty house. It sucks the enthusiasm right out of me. And why is it so easy and automatic to focus on the negative things rather than the positives? (just look at the size of each of my lists!)

During winter I try to be mindful of what I focus on so that I can help my kids find positive things to focus on too...their experiences are so shaped by what we adults say and do, how we react to things. I want to know what their experience of winter is like, untainted by mine.

So what do you talk about when the weather is not quite what you like?

When we all traipse outside and it's a nose-freezing 2 degrees, rather than say what I am tempted to say (Crap! It's COLD!) I comment instead on how sunny it is. How pretty the tree looks covered in snow. I wonder out loud what the dog thinks of this weather. I'm not overly saccharine or fakey, I just shift my attention a bit.

If it's too early, or I'm crabby and I can't think of a single positive thing, as was the case the other day, I take Thumper's advice: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nuthin' all." And when that happens, more often than not, my kids will say something nice so I don't have to.


  1. Great post! I read it and realized that I always say something nice about the weather outside, so Quin does, too. But, I do need to listen to your advice when it comes to watching what I say in other instances. Just because I feel the need to say something negative doesn't mean my kids need to hear it. Thanks for the reminder :)

  2. Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog! I enjoyed this post (that image of trying to stuff a child in the car seat!). I am continually practicing saying less.