Today my son lost his hat in the Air and Space Museum in DC. We didn't find out that he had lost the NEW hat until we had been kicked out of the museum at closing time. It took me 30 minutes to find a guard that would break the rules and let me in to retrieve the hat. Luckily my daughter said that she knew exactly where he put it. After successfully tracking down the hat, at dinner time, in flaming heat. My husband seemed a little upset about the matter. He looked put out.
I quickly calmed him down by saying, "I have already talked to Porter about keeping better track of his things." I had talked to Porter about it, but I did it in an understanding way instead of an irritated way.
I realized something. My husband allowed himself to be affected by the behaviors of another person, and I didn't. Some people call this patience. I suppose it is, but it is also perspective and self preservation.
Perspective: I knew my four year old didn't intend to make us go through this ordeal to find a missing hat when we would rather be eating dinner. I also knew that we hadn't really talked about how to properly keep track of the hat, because he hadn't ever taken if off before. I had to give him credit for his goodness, as well as instruct him how to properly care for his hat.
Self-preservation: I don't know if this is a good term for what I mean, but it suites me. Do I enjoy feeling put out? Do I like feeling disappointed in my child? Do I prefer stressful feelings or secure feelings? Do I want to carry a burden of frustration and selfishness around with me? The answers to all of these questions are no. Why would anyone? However, we all slip into times when we do choose these things.
Today, my husband chose to become irritated instead of concerned. He didn't even think that his son might feel bad in the situation. Bad that he lost his favorite, new hat, and bad that he caused a delay in the family plans.
The point is we choose. I choose to preserve my feelings of joy and happiness. I choose to preserve the spirit of love in myself and my family. I choose to serve my children, and show them I care about them, so that I can also preserve their good attitudes about relationships and family. I choose self-preservation.
I am not perfect at this concept, but I get better the more I try to be selfless. I also become more happy.
P.S. I am giving a day long seminar in Cedar City, Utah on June 28th at George Wythe College. You are all invited to come if you would like to. The contact person for the seminar is Cindy Clarke firstname.lastname@example.org . contact her for details and reservations.