It’s an ordinary Tuesday, no more and no less valuable than yesterday or tomorrow. Emma, 14, awakes with a twinge of uncertainty. The gray skinny jeans, white T-shirt and booties chosen Monday night to stave off a fashion crisis this morning, she now finds dreadfully unacceptable. Her confident creativity comes to life. In her short search she matches gray sweats with a pair of pink high-tops. “Aha! I love it!”
We might not recognize the difference between gray jeans and sweats. But for Emma, on this Tuesday morning, it’s massive. Rather than staying stuck on yesterday’s decision, losing it, or ruminating about how miserable she’ll be in jeans, her resilience and problem-solving skills kick-in. As she shares her fashion success story with us, we must compliment her decision-making process and admire her sense of style.
Her twin, Eric, hits the snooze button again. And again. Somewhere, between awake and asleep, he plans his strategy: go to the bathroom, get dressed, gulp down a smoothie, grab his backpack and click his seat belt by 7:55 AM. Without a hitch he’s certain he can sleep until 7:44 AM and brag in the car, “Aha! I did it in 11 minutes!”
We might be tempted to brand Eric’s longing to sleep as long as possible as procrastinating or risk-taking. Especially if his morning habits vary vastly from our roomy routines. A better action is to admire him for his time management and self-direction skills. On the ride to school we must take the opportunity to praise his planning skills and authentically appreciate him for being on time.
Emma and Erik, and our kids, too, need us to cultivate their internal integrity and external habits by intentionally encouraging and reinforcing them. As we strengthen and hone their core beliefs in themselves, we raise the best of humankind.
I admire and appreciate all you do,