About eight months ago, I attended a resilience training seminar at a conference. It was meant to help our professional lives, since of course that was the focus of the convention. However, for me, the benefit of that training has manifested in my personal life.
At that particular seminar, the speaker talked about how important it is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. This is something I have tried to do, but it’s difficult as I am pessimistic by nature. One suggestion that was given for families was that at dinner time, each family member takes a turn saying three positive things about their day.
We decided to try it. After a week or so, Will and I both found that we began to look for things during the day. Oh, that’s good, I’m going to use that as one of my good things tonight. It was a good way to start a conversation and share our days with each other. Wildling contributes, and, although usually her first good thing is ‘I’m having a lovely dinner with my family,’ and her second good thing is something like ‘I’m having milk,’ she does provide tidbits and stories from school as well. We get to learn what she thinks is significant. She usually does Mellow’s good things as well (I’m having a lovely dinner with my family, repeated in a very high falsetto, which I guess is how Wildling assumes Mellow would talk if she could).
We’ve been doing this for about eight months now, and it is working – we are forced to find the positives even in our worst days. I think of today as proof of it’s success.
Wildling has strep throat. We spent hours in the emergency room yesterday. I was up all night with her as her fever kept spiking. Meanwhile, Mellow has developed an eye cyst, and her eye is nearly swollen shut. At some point today, she developed a high fever as well. I spent all day, on no sleep, taking care of two sick children, both of whom desperately needed me, but whom I was trying to keep separate (clearly, that failed, as the fever did spread to poor Mellow). Wildling was completely miserable, and spent most of the day just sitting in a chair, lethargic and sad. Mellow wanted to nurse all day and kept climbing up on me and crying.
Yet tonight at dinner, after that horrible awful day, we were all able to come up with three good things. A year ago, I couldn’t have done that. I would have been so focused on how miserable we all were, how tired I was, how I wasn’t able to go to the store and get Wildling her medicine because she and Mellow were too sick. Instead, I focused on the good: Wildling’s fever has gone down, my father-in-law picked up the medicine for us, we spent awhile quietly watching youtube videos of ballerinas and talking about the importance of working hard. Those are my good things.
I know that Wildling will get better. Mellow will get better. Tomorrow will be better. There is something good in every day.