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Positive Thinking: Even When Mud is Around Your Ankles

by Mar 23, 20172017, Archived Posts

Let’s talk about staying positive. 

Many of us prefer predictable. We want spring to come in a nice steady progression from snow, to melting snow, to really fast mud season, directly to blooming crocuses, and green grass. Success and smiles.

We know it doesn’t work like that. We don’t know whether spring will be warm or cold, snowy or rainy. How can we stay positive when faced with so many questions? And besides, don’t we like to complain?

Here’s what we do know: Town meetings will happen in many of our towns; we will spring forward our clocks; and the first day of spring will arrive, ready or not.

Let’s consider how we can stay positive through town meetings. Some of us always put them on the calendar and try to be there. Others avoid them and consider the system archaic. Regardless of your thoughts, it is a day for community. Will the discussion be brutally honest? Will we make good decisions we can all agree on? We talk about our town, our needs, our budgets, our issues. We all want to see neighbors work together for positive solutions. Good decisions made. Democracy in action.

Daylight savings time discombobulates everyone for a few days. We can grumble about the darker mornings begging for extra snooze time. Parents of young children struggle to get back on the sleep/ awake cycle that works for the family. The clocks and our hungry stomachs don’t match up. Let’s stay positive. More light in the evenings encourages after-work walks. Sleep routines quickly return. Our stomachs will adjust. As the days march toward summer, gladly embrace more time with the sunlight and eagerly anticipate the arrival of the crocuses and daffodils.

We hold forth the hope that we will transition from the snow of winter to the fresh green of spring. But first we must negotiate Mud Season which can challenge our resolve to remain positive. We adults can certainly learn from young children when it comes to Mud Season. Children teach us to revel in rediscovering our world. As the snow melts, they are eager to put on their boots and go out and play in the puddles, the dirty snow banks, and the mud. They are exploring textures, smells, and the sensation of the wind on their cheeks. Who are we to stay indoors and complain about the mess the mud is making on our carpets? Let’s put on our boots and join them.

Just as winter steadily moves toward spring in a somewhat messy and unpredictable fashion, so children steadily move toward adulthood in an equally messy and somewhat unpredictable path. We can catch ourselves complaining about our crying infant, toddler’s tantrums, or teen’s angst. We can approach parenting with a positive mindset. Know that your baby will cry. Take that opportunity to hold them close, to whisper calming words. Your toddler will throw tantrums, messy and unpleasant. Keep your sense of humor. Be brave. Let them wear themselves out. And empathize with that teen. Remember your own angst. Love them. Stay positive.

A tried and true way of staying positive through the parenting process is to spend time with other parents. The River Center is a family and community resource center focused on strengthening families and individuals in this community. It is so helpful for parents to share frustrations, learn new ways of approaching parenting challenges, and support each other. 

Winter is waning, spring is ready to pop out all around us. Stay positive.