Skip to main content

Be appreciative. Be generous. Be encouraging.

Be appreciative

It had been one of those days where I felt I was dashing around a lot for very little reward.  Tidying, vacuuming, chivvying the kids around - and now I was in the kitchen starting on dinner while the rest of the family was watching TV.  I'd just finished pummeling the pizza dough into submission when Theo wandered into the kitchen.  He looked at the beige blob in the mixing bowl and exclaimed, "Wow, that's amazing Mum!  You made that!"  A smile broke over my face, and I realised: Yes.  I did make that.  And actually, it is pretty amazing.

What is just as amazing is how a tiny pinch of unadulterated appreciation changes how we feel.  Like the yeast in the bread dough, a few kind words turn a sticky lump of a day into something growing larger and lighter.  So I resolved to try and give that gift to myself and to others more often this year.  To stop and look and say, "That's amazing!  You did that!"  To be appreciative.

Be generous


We are in a slightly odd position at the moment.  We have money.  We just don't have much income.  Obviously, if we keep not having income, we will, in the end, not have money.  This is something we're doing everything we can to prevent, which includes trying not to spend too much of the money we do have, so as to have longer before we don't have it any more.

Unfortunately, this tends to result in both of us viewing the other's purchases with suspicion.  Did you really have to buy that?  Are you sure you couldn't have saved money on that?  And we both end up feeling slightly guilty, a little bit defensive, and somewhat resentful.  That's not a particularly good way to feel.  I realised, even though we're budgeting, we still need a generous mindset.  We don't want to cling on to every last penny as though it will save us.  We don't want to be constantly adding up how much you spent and I didn't spend.  So here's another gift to give this year.  To say, "I'm glad this money could buy something you need."  To be generous.

Be encouraging


"Well done, you put your own shoes on!"  "Look at that drawing you did - so colourful!"  "That's great, you got up all by yourself!"  In early life every little thing is a new achievement, and we do our best to surround our children with a blizzard of encouragement. 

As we get older the expectations kick in.  Too often we find ourselves saying, "Why didn't you do that?"  "Weren't you thinking?"  "You never remember!"  Encouragement changes to discouragement, and instead of looking for the good, we see only the ways in which people let us down.  When I realise what tiny things I praise my two-year-old for (and when he praises me back!), I start thinking that maybe some of the other people in my life could use some more positive feedback.  Toby might look at me funny if I tell him how great it is that he put his own trousers on, but he notices when I compliment him for being polite at the dinner table. 

We all like to have our efforts noticed and our failures overlooked.  And that's one more gift to give.  To say, "Well done, I saw what you did."  To be encouraging.

What gifts will you give this year?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Baby Language

For some reason baby equipment is an area in which American English differs markedly from British English. As well as learning how to care for a baby, we had to learn a whole new vocabulary! Fortunately we are now fluently bilingual, and I have compiled a handy US-UK baby dictionary for you. Diaper n. Nappy Mom says if you can read this change my diaper. The first time you change one of these you will be all thumbs and stick the little adhesive tabs to yourself, the baby and probably the changing mat before you get them where they ought to go. A few years later you will be able to lasso a running toddler and change them before they even know what's happened (yes, I have seen it done). You will also get through more diapers than you ever thought possible, creating scary amounts of expense and waste. Hence we are now mostly using: Cloth diaper n. Reusable nappy Cool baby. No longer those terry squares, the main drawback is that there are now so many types it can be qu

our new apartment

Moving was a slightly surreal experience given that our new place looks almost exactly the same as the old one, except for being a different layout. That's what you get for living in a throw-'em-up-and-pack-'em-in apartment complex I guess - albeit a very nice one. So, entering apartment 433: To your right is the master bedroom: with en-suite bathroom: and looking back, from your left, that's a walk-in closet, door to the hallway and door to the bathroom: Following the layout so far? OK, go back to the hallway and put your back to the front door again, and this time walk straight forwards into the sitting room: As you can see, ahead of you is the door to the balcony: for which I have grand plans for a herb garden and other plants. Leading off the living room is the dining area: and if you walk through that and round to your right you reach the kitchen: Go back through the living room again: and if you turn right (

Sand, slides and stepping stones

You will probably remember me blogging about Granbury and Dinosaur Valley State Park before - it's a favourite place of ours to take family when they come to visit, or just to hang out ourselves.  Normally we would just do a day trip down there, but this time we decided to make it a weekend. Maddy, Graham and Toby in Granbury Granbury town square was all dressed up for Christmas, with cowboy-hatted Christmas trees and wreaths in every window.  Anthony and Maddy picked up some Texas souvenirs in the stores and we ate lunch in our favourite 50's-themed diner, Rinky-Tinks, with a bit of Elvis on the juke box. In Rinky-Tinks Venturing outside the square for a change, we strolled along a pleasant street and found a park.  Standing in a playground for the afternoon would not previously have been high on our list of weekend-away activities, but having a one-year-old kinda changes your perspective on these things.  Toby discovered slides for the first time and went righ