I’m an optimist.
I’ve shared this fact in past columns and I must be honest. I recognize that for some this is a ‘character’ flaw. One met by disappointment and unreasonable expectations. The good news is, if you are a ‘true’ optimist your mind never allows you to go that direction.
Example: You search a parking lot for just the right spot closest to the store entrance only to be met with cars (several) finding ‘the’ spot ahead of you. You settle on a farther spot and as you approach said store a parking spot opens steps from the front door.
Many would quickly frown and grimace over ‘just missing the perfect spot.’ A ‘true’ optimist however would either not even notice or notice and think ‘that walk was good for me. Someone else must have needed that spot more than I did.’
Yes, I speak from experience.
Recently, however, I have come to learn that my bright side demeanor comes with a few casualties - my kids.
These thoughts I have. This looking on the bright side, well it doesn’t always stay in my head. Often times I verbalize my feelings of great fortune and usually my children are well within ear shot.
So, while some children live surrounded by ‘inappropriate’ language, mine are condemned to their mother’s world of rainbows and butterflies.
Sometimes as parents we forget our kids are not just listening, but learning. This became apparent not long ago as I overheard my son correcting a friend when he used the word ‘impossible.’
“Impossible is not a real word,” my son quickly chirped. “Anything is possible if you try and believe. You have to think I –M-Possible.”
As I spotted his friend cock his head somewhat confused, I quickly realized I had some explaining to do. My son had learned that from me - sort of.
I grew up lacking a bit in the confidence department, so to say I am trying to right that wrong for my children is perhaps a bit of an understatement.
With the recent advent of my running passion, I have learned now more than ever before to believe that anything is possible. I’ve also watched a few friends battle through some tough times physically and accomplish goals that have their doctors scratching their heads. So yes, admittedly, I do believe anything is possible. I believe our biggest obstacle in our life is ourselves. I have told many friends, the sooner you get out of your way the more quickly things can change. I believe that.
So, on this given day I had to explain to my son that in fact ‘impossible’ is a word. It is however also a word we don’t readily use in our family. It’s sort of a cousin to the words Shut Up and Stupid (deemed ‘bad’ words in our family).
My son (a literal/logical type) accepted my explanation and went on to cite examples of when the word may have been used and how in fact it resulted in being incorrect. So, he ‘got’ what I was trying to say, but our kids are sponges and so, he too is somewhat of an optimist.
The plus side to this of course, is that he lives with hope. He does not wake up feeling as if the world is against him. He is seven after all and it saddens me to know that there are children who have lived lives which foster such thoughts.
In a twisted way, I like to think of Hope as a step-daughter to Impossible.
The story goes something like this.
Impossible woke one morning and decided to convert to I-M-Possible. This was a huge life change and a bit unnerving for the word which spent its entirety in the world of doom and gloom. But impossible had heard of this liberating world complete with rainbows and butterflies and along the way met Faith (the father of Hope). So, as I-M-Possible united with Faith and guided Hope things began to change.
Doom and gloom, well that world never truly went away. There were too many occupants for that world to ever truly dissolve. Yes, the word trinity was met by Challenge many times. But, with each turn, each hurdle, I-M-Possible and Faith held on tight to the one thing they loved and treasured the most - Hope.
Someday, I hope my children will see that we may never be able to give the world bags of money or solve everyone’s problems. But, our thoughts, words and beliefs can always bring Hope to the world.
Remember, you choose. It really is that simple. Change the glasses. The rosey ones smell much better, I promise.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.