Friday, June 21, 2013

Reflection, Examination and Gratitude

Long nights, rough days, stress, and overly full schedules. All things that seem to be a norm in our world. We run ourselves ragged and never look at the small things, the good things that happen in our day to day life. We take our good moments for granted. Everyone does it, myself included. But what would happen if we took the time each day to reflect on our day, in seconds, in minutes, in hours… moments. What would happen if we held those good moments just a little bit tighter to our hearts on those rough days or through those long, long nights? What would happen if we started to let go of the stress, the hurtful words, the angered moments and focused on the good? It seems we allow the bad to fester within us. It makes for a miserable existence and an ungrateful life.

We've all been hurt, wronged, put down and pushed around in various ways. We put so much energy into being mad, upset, and angry. We exhaust ourselves. We exhaust our own patience, love, compassion and understanding while holding onto the bad.

A lot of us are new to this journey and are trying to find our way. A lot of us have been on this road so long we have broken down, started to walk it alone and left our toolbox miles and miles behind. We’re weary, lost, angry, resentful, and hurt. We turn into ourselves or do the opposite and lash out. Neither are healthy or productive, other than to provide more fuel for the fire that is negativity.

A couple months ago my oldest daughter, now 12 and with more wisdom than most adults, came home from a friends with an interesting idea. We had just moved to this area and she had become fast friends with another child whose family had just moved into the area a month before us. At our dinner table the day after her sleepover at her new friend’s house, she shared an idea that has helped us tremendously as a family. She told me that every night at the dinner table her friend’s family would go around the table, from youngest to oldest, and answer 3 questions. What was the best part of your day? What was the worst part of your day? What was the most exciting or weird part of your day?

I’ll tell you honestly that I nodded, smiled and said “That’s nice, honey.” How often do we do that? How often do we just maintain the focus inside ourselves, still focusing on those stressors from the day and inadvertently ignoring our children, family, friends or spouse? I can tell you, in truth, I am guilty of doing this…..for a long, long time. I was losing that connection with my children, with my spouse, with my family and friends. It scared me to death that I was losing that link to my daughters! We’re heading into the teenage years. It is vital to maintain those open lines of communication during such a HUGE change in their lives. We can’t continue to nod and smile. We absolutely can not. So here is my suggestion. Gather around your dinner table. No more sitting in the living room or separate from each other. Gather around that table! That is what it was designed for! Share your day! The good, the bad, the wacky and weird, the silly. Embrace the little moments. Communicate in a healthy way. Reflect on the good part of your day. Hold on to the good for all its worth. It’s what will get your through the bad. In the end you will have a heaping pile of good memories and the bad won’t have nearly as much weight. Remember your child telling you their teacher had a “science infection”. Remember the look on your spouse’s face when they have accomplished something that on most days would be impossible for them to do.  Remember the cup coffee and conversation you had with your mother. Remember the laughter. Remember the love.

Submitted By: Amanda Eckman
                       Proud fiancĂ©e of an OIF Veteran and mommy of 3 daughters
                      Community Resources Coordinator at Family of a Vet

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