Last week I had a 3 1/2 hour drive to Hot Springs, VA to see my son’s beautiful girlfriend in a beauty pageant. The scenery on the way was gorgeous with tall mountains covered in trees that had shed their leaves and were waiting for winter, winding roads and even a cascading waterfall. I was enjoying the drive and listening to the radio on the way. On one of the stations (I cannot remember which one), they had an idea that I thought would be a great way to help me keep my thoughts positive during the day.
The radio host encouraged everyone to start their day with 10 pennies (you could use smooth pebbles or something similar instead) in one pocket. Every time you have a positive interaction (asking a cashier how her day is going, smiling instead of scowling when the lady who is whizzing through the grocery store cuts you off, letting a car get in front of you during heavy traffic, etc.) move one of the pennies into the other pocket. Each time your interaction could have been better, move the penny back to the original pocket. I can guarantee you that this will help you try to have a positive mindset during your day to day interactions and will show you which situations you are still struggling with so that you can find solutions to help make these times better.
For older kids, this would help them develop positive thought patterns and habits while they are young. Many times, the things that we think on have become a habit. We know we dislike rush hour so we have already made up our minds that this time is going to be miserable. We hate long lines so we have a bad attitude as we are stepping into our place in the back. The things that we are accustomed to disliking could add up to a large chunk of our day. Let’s condition ourselves to see these challenges as opportunities to be positive in the midst of something that may not be our favorite. I guarantee that your mindset will become more positive the more you consciously think about and practice focusing on the good in the midst of a trying situation.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’s say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:9