Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Colleen Langenfeld


Everyday it's the same old thing...rise and shine, get
the kids ready, shoo everyone out the door, go to work
(whether it's in your own home or at an office). Then at
the end of the day, finish one job...to work some more!
And then you get to look forward to doing it all over
again! Yes, yes, you love your work (you DO love your
work, don't you?), you are blessed with wonderful children
and your marriage is happy. Life is good! Then why do you
feel so...blah?

Those everyday-moments are also the everyday-routine. The
trick to making them MOMENTS instead of ROUTINE is
gratitude. When we are grateful for the people and events
around us, we are able to see the glass half full, not
half empty. Moreover, our feelings will begin to swing
into line as well.

One fun way to practice gratitude on a daily basis is to
celebrate those little daily chores. If you have children,
have you ever developed some sort of reward system to
encourage a particular behavior? Kids are not the only
ones who like to be praised! A well-thought out reward
system for adults can produce amazing results and lift
spirits, as well.

Let's put this in concrete terms:

*The morning rush. Yes, everyone knows they should get
their stuff ready the night before. But what is the
incentive for doing so? Nagging? If that's not working
for you, consider sweetening the pot with an appropriate
reward. A favorite meal? An evening of board games? A
sleepover with a friend? Don't forget about the adults.
A new CD might be nice. A walk in the park - or maybe
some time alone. An extra lunch-out in this month's
budget. Of course, a smoother-running household is the
best reward of all. However, celebrating calls for
special attention.

*Why do we reward elementary-age children with
certificates and prizes for perfect attendance? Isn't
it just as amazing (even more so, when you think about
it) when an adult who's juggling multiple
responsibilities doggedly gets to work on time five days
a week, month after month after year after year? Dad or
Mom will probably never ask for balloons and their
favorite meal just for "doing their job" but you can bet
they will not soon forget the gesture.

*I have a friend who throws parties all the time! For a
long while, I could not figure out why. Then it dawned
on me; she CHOOSES to celebrate. And every couple of
weeks or so, she invites friends to celebrate WITH her!
As life's inevitable ups and downs have come along, this
woman is always surrounded by her friends, for whom she
has hosted a myriad of good times. Not a bad place to be.

*What do our children think about the notion of
celebrating and gifts? Is that reserved for special
occasions? And just what constitutes 'special occasions'?
If we are teaching them that life is awesome and they are
wonderful, then the party would be TODAY. In addition,
the gifts would be simple, designed to say "I see you and
I think sharing this day with you is just about the best
it gets". In my mom's words, "pull out the good china and
find the cloth napkins." Wow. Must be a special day!

So while it's easy (and wise) to party over the big events
in our lives, it's just as smart to remind ourselves
through celebrations that life is in the small stuff - and
that's where we live everyday!


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