Posts Tagged ‘Stiillwater’

Optimistic or Pessimistic? Can we choose?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Maggie and Max

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My daughter Maggie is in 3rd grade and is taking a standardized test this week in school.  It has been interesting watching her prepare.  I have always known that she tends to be more of a glass half empty person.  She doesn’t wake up happy, she is always talking about something that hurts or itches or bugs her.   She gets frustrated, when I ask her to do something unexpected.  She is a slow mover.  She has no sense of urgency.  In fact, she can suck on the same Jolly Rancher for hours, until it is but a tiny sliver and still doesn’t have the urge to crunch down on it.   She won’t raise her hand to answer a question in school without first knowing the answer.  She doesn’t want to be wrong.  She loves roller coasters, she is gutsy. She is patient and kind to everyone and has lots of friends.  She is smart and honest.  She can’t lie.   She thinks things through and takes her time.  Oh does she take her time.
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She is exactly like her father.
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She is almost the exact opposite of my son Max.  Max is a glass half full kid.  He literally wakes up singing.   He blurts.  He moves fast.  He puts a Jolly Rancher in his mouth and after only a few sucks he chews.  He can’t help it.  He could have a fever for three days and I wouldn’t know it because he doesn’t complain.  He does things in the spur of the moment.  He doesn’t think before he acts.  Which leads us to the lying thing.  “No Mom, I don’t have any idea how a carton of chocolate milk got into my backpack and exploded all over my library books”   He is smart too, but in school he wants to finish his work as fast as he can even if he is getting the answers wrong.  Instead of erasing a wrong answer…that takes to long…he just writes over the top harder.  He loves gym class and being outside.  He loves playing with his friends.  He is tender hearted, it doesn’t take much to bring tears to his eyes.
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He is exactly like me.
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So, are we born with this personality to some degree?  Let’s see Maggie cried for the first 3 months of her life.  Max was cool as a cucumber.  Was I anxious as a new mom, and did that rub off on Maggie?  Did my anxiety start her off on a pessimistic foot?  They say parents are more laid back with the 2nd child, so is that why Max has a calmer personality? I guess I think we are raising our kids the same way, in the same house with the same 2 parents.  Why did Maggie get more of Jason’s personality and Max mine?
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We have been talking about optimism this week at our house.  We have been talking in positives instead of negatives.  When Maggie says her toe hurts, we take a look and then say “isn’t it great that my other toes don’t hurt too”.  When she wakes up unhappy about having to take that test we say “Isn’t it great that it’s pizza dippers for lunch today”.  I know it seems silly, but I am working on the premise that this lean toward the negative is a habit and habits can be broken right?
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I might be taking this optimism thing a bit too far though, I might be giving Maggie a complex.  When we were saying our prayers last night I said “Lord let Maggie wake up joyful and optimistic tomorrow”.  Maggie said “Lord, help me remember to wake up joyful and optimistic tomorrow”.
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As I am writing this Maggie is still sleeping, so time will tell:)
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I have a super nice customer who comes into my shop for help.  She is a very good knitter.  She is a pessimist.  I don’t think she’d be surprised I’m saying that.  She comes into the shop saying she can’t do something and she has that something already done perfectly!  She just thinks she hasn’t.  She is funny and smart.  But she doesn’t seem to know it.  In fact, this week I was kind of razzing her a bit about it.  I told her she needs to think more positively, to believe that she can do it and to be happy for the things she has already done!  She knit an amazing vest last year for her daughter and never gave herself the credit she deserved.  There was something wrong with it up to the bitter end.  She finished it with flying colors even though she kept coming in saying “I can’t”.
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I wonder if she takes after her mother or her father?
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I just read an interesting book called The Geography of Bliss, One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.  It was fascinating.  I loved it so much that I am giving away a brand new copy of the book next week.  Just leave me a comment below, or on facebook or stop in and we’ll get your name in the drawing.  Oh and speaking of books.  Jennifer and Kim are starting a book club in January!  Stay tuned for more info on that…
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Go forth and be optimistic!  Isn’t it great that your other toes don’t hurt too?
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