September 6, 2011

Choosing Optimism

In late August, the children for whom I babysit – teachers’ kids – started back with me full-time after enjoying a wonderful summer at home. I couldn’t wait to see Jill, the delightful almost-five year old who’s been with us since she was a newborn. But I was a bit more tentative about Lydia.

Lydia is six months old, and she’s Jill’s sister. I’d watched her for a few weeks in the spring when her mom’s maternity leave ended, and she’d come to my house one afternoon a week through most of the summer so she wouldn’t “forget” me. We had good days – but I was still nervous about her full-time start.

Counting my two daughters, Lydia is the eighth infant for whom I’ve cared over the past 10 years – and almost every situation has worked quite well. But my most recent experience with a baby – a boy for whom I cared from last November through early March – was rough and didn’t end well.

After analyzing what happened and seeking counsel from mentors, I knew that the difficulty – caused by a number of factors beyond my control – was not my fault. And I knew I’d had success with every other infant who’d ever been in my care. But the negative situation rattled my confidence.

Thus, I had to choose to approach Lydia’s full-time arrival with optimism. I had to purpose to replay memories of the years of success with the previous six babies and repeatedly march my mind through the many reasons that the one untenable situation was the exception to the rule.

Did you catch that? I had to choose. I had to purpose.

As it turns out, Lydia is one of the most sweet-tempered children I’ve ever known – smiles like this continually light up her face. And I choose to see that as God’s confirmation of His call on me, which includes caring for others’ children so I can stay home with my own.

As a new academic term gets under way – whether at home with your own children or teaching others’ kids in a traditional school – you may be facing serious difficulties: contract changes you fear might jeopardize your ability to plan well; an unsupportive or incompetent principal; lack of money with which to buy desired materials; uncooperative or struggling students. Sadly, the list of challenges might be extensive.

But, if you choose to face your situation with optimism instead of angst, you’ll be better able to cope with the difficulties. And you may even be able to eventually see a way through to something better.

And, if all else fails on a given day, pull up this picture of Lydia. I dare you to maintain pessimism while looking at that face!


1 comment:

Misty said...

I really needed this Tina! Thank you :) We have hit a rough patch with my daycare and quitting has entered my mind so many times, but I had to choose to change my view on things and instead of looking at the negative focus on the positive. This post encouraged me :)

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