A change in attitude
First published Dec 27th, 2016
It’s been a while since I last blogged, the main reason being that I’ve had so much whirling around in my mind but not enough down time to sit and put these thoughts into words.
But tonight as the madness of Christmas prep and Christmas Day itself has been and gone and we have now entered that ‘in between’ stage where all we do – well all I do – is eat and eat and eat (I have been wearing my sweat pants for a lot of this ‘in between’ stage) and await the New Year, I thought it was time to put my musings into some sort of sentences.
The last few months have been a bit nuts, no scrap that, the last few months have been horrendous in terms of the world. A few years ago I would berate people for not watching the news and keeping up with the headlines. I have to confess to no longer watching the news, as it gets to me too much to the point where I struggle to sleep for fear of what could happen to my children. Some of what has been happening has been hard to avoid even through lack of news watching.
Trump getting elected for one was news no one could sadly avoid.
The Calais ‘jungle’ demolition, refugees being vilified by our nation, Aleppo being wiped out, were all news that were screamed out to us, yet at times felt like not many were paying much attention to these events which I struggle to find words to describe.
For a few months I really struggled with our two eldest (4 and almost 6 years old), I struggled with what seemed to be a total lack of gratitude. I would constantly find myself comparing they whines to what children abandoned in Aleppo would be going through. I would find myself comparing their demands to what children in refugee camps would be thinking. And all the while I would think ‘You two are so ungrateful, this is totally my fault for giving you so much!’
So I set about trying to find a way of changing their attitude, while searching for this way I discovered that it was myself who was in need of a change of attitude.
Of course my children have no idea what a child in Aleppo is going through.
Of course my children have no idea of what a displaced refugee child is needing or wanting right now.
My children have lived a very protected and sheltered life and I – as any other parent – would not want to expose them to the horrors that so many children are facing throughout this very fragile world.
I cannot begin to make my children understand and for that I am so so grateful.
It is I that needed the change of attitude all along, to look at my children and see their caring hearts, to see their sense of adventure, to see the love that they have for each other and for their younger brother, to see the fun mischief in their eyes.
I had become soaked up in the world’s events – which I think is right to be so – but instead of letting them shape me I had tried to let them shape my children instead.
My children are grateful, and do appreciate life.
Let me give you one example that I am so proud of them for…
This year, my mum sent us an advent calendar. Now in previous years we have also bought them an individual calendar each. This year, I decided (Colin wasn’t overly keen on this idea at first) that we would not purchase any more calendars and that they would each take it in turn to open the advent calendar door.
On the first morning, we went down the stairs with trepidation at the thought of what could be, but to our amazement, only one child seemed a bit unsure about the lack of other advent calendars’ presence.
The next day, all was good. To the point that at the end of that week at ‘sharing time’ at school, our eldest shared that his feelings on that given day was that he was ‘happy because it was his turn to open the advent calendar’. And we went through the weeks leading up to Christmas Day with no arguments over the advent calendar and with lots of excitement when it was their turn to open the door.
See my kids are grateful.
This small lesson taught me something big:
My children’s attitude right now is normal for children of their age, they are not ungrateful, they are children living in a safe environment.
I am the one whose attitude needs to and is changing slowly.
Colin and I have a responsibility to the world to make sure that our three children grow up being just. That we give each of them the skills to be just in the school playground, to be just at home and so on so that they will grow up becoming people of integrity.
As we watch or hear or are told the horrendous news of events as they unfold throughout the world, we can and we will at times understandably become engulfed by it all. It will make us emotional and give us a sense of despair, but if we look around at those whose future we are so worried for, we see hope, we see innocence, we see dreams, in those little people we need to have faith that they can and will grow up being part of the solution to this messed up world instead of part of its problems.
What a great, exciting, life changing responsibility that is upon all of us as human beings, let’s start with today, let’s change our own attitudes to model to our own children what it is to be good people, people of gratitude and love.