"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
My dad regularly taught me about attitude since I was little simply by being himself. If you know my dad, you know he is happy, friendly, and always ready to help out. From the outside it looks like he, perhaps, has everything going great even if it's not. He'll have 5 cents in his pocket and still be a smiling fool. I would ask myself when I was younger, "Why does dad wake up every morning before work and clap his hands and shout, 'I'm gonna have a great day! I'm gonna have a great day!'" I knew he had little sleep, a ton of work to get done, and probably wouldn't make very much money that day. It befuddled me that he would think that this day was going to be so great when the last couple hundred weren't so super.
It took me a few years, but eventually I understood. My dad was setting apart all the negative feelings that would give a normal person daily anxiety and crafting the attitude he needed to get through the day. Shouting and proclaiming to everyone within earshot that today, in fact, is going to be a great day as soon as he woke up before any negative thoughts could creep in ensured he was in control. That that day's success was going to be determined not by what the day brought him, but by the attitude he brought to that day.
I picked up on this and I've never forgotten that circumstances do not need to dictate my attitude. Everyday I wake up early to go babysitting and there are plenty of opportunities for me to get upset. But as soon as my alarm goes off, before my brain even has time to say, "REALLY? COME ON!" I reassure myself that I'm going to have a great day. As I pull up out of bed and zombie walk to the bathroom, I remind myself of all the things that I like about my job and how good I'll feel when I'm there. Even in babysitting itself I have to not let the kids actions upset me. "Okay, there's throw up on my shirt, I got a backpack hurled at my head, no one is listening, and according to the sources of a 4 year old, I smell like poop." If I didn't have a positive attitude, I wouldn't have anything. Because really, what's the alternative? Every time I can't control a situation I'm going to scream and throw a giant fit? That's exhausting. I wouldn't think very highly of myself if I did. Not to sound like a poster in a high school hallway but, I don't judge my days on what other people do to me, rather, on how I react.
I hope this is a lesson I can teach my kids in the future. "Really? Really? I won't buy you Coco Puffs so naturally the only reaction is to collapse in a hysterical fit on the floor?" I don't know how I'll do it. Kids aren't much for self improvement and Heaven knows they love their Coco Puffs. I'll try my best to be a good example of a positive attitude for my kids, but like every young mother before me has said, they can always learn morals and values from their grandparents. I hope that when my future son stands in the cereal aisle as his child wails in his relentless affirmation that Trix are for kids I hope Jr. will confidently whisper, "I'm gonna have a great day."