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Attitude is Everything - What I preach to my kids and students

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When I was growing up and would complain about having to do a chore or if I had a negative attitude about a school assignment, my mom used to say to me, “Kopf hoch,” which is German for “hold your head up high.” Basically the subtle message that I gleaned from my parents was that I should have a good attitude about the situation I was in, the idea of making the most of your circumstances, no matter what.

You know, the old wisdom of "seeing the cup half full rather than half empty."

28377734_10155728424044652_1129703228781170946_n-360x461.jpgWhile I taught English at Horizon Christian High School in Tualatin, Oregon, I had students write down daily quotes in their journals they created at the start of the year, and I also shared certain sayings with them throughout the week. One of them was a simple one, but had a lot of meaning:

“Attitude is everything.”

I would say it quite often, especially when they would complain or whine about having to read a large number of pages in a particular novel for a unit, or when they would have to complete a detailed assignment or have a short turn-around on an essay they were writing.

“Attitude is everything," I'd say back to them, then instruct them kindly that instead of complaining about the work load, they should say, "Thank you Mrs. Seigneur. I’m so glad we get to write this paper,” or a similar comment dependent upon the situation at hand.

Of course, it was all a bit exaggerated and meant to be a tad funny, but nonetheless, the message was clear. And it worked. When students would begin complaining about something, I’d just have to begin to say, “Attitude is everything,” and they would turn it around and say a bit tongue and cheek: “Thank you Mrs. Seigneur for assigning this long paper,” or, "Thank you Mrs. Seigneur for making us read this many pages!"

I still hear from students who say that they remember some of my sayings and they still chuckle about them.

Now, to be clear, I know there is a time to air our complaints and there is a time to share what is on our hearts, and all doesn’t have to be rosy and clear blue sky days; I too like to be real. But there are times when we do just have to buckle up our boots and get the job done, and there is a time when whining is not what we want to hear.

It doesn’t always have to be fun; it just has to get done.

Like another quote I appreciate: "It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to get accomplished." To grow as individuals, we will have to do things we may not at first love to do, but we will appreciate it later.

Like getting to read a book.

Like getting to write a paper.

Like going outside on a walk.

Or, when it comes to momlife: like making lunches every day for our kids. Like attending our kids’ sporting events. Like making dinners every night. Like doing a boat-load of laundry each week only to have to do it again the following week.

I’ve termed and written about how I like to view “the ordinary” as “extraordinary.” We especially realize this idea when we don’t have the ordinary anymore.

Walking becomes especially important to us when we cannot walk anymore. Breathing seems like such a gift when we have almost died. We will miss making lunches for our kids when they are “grown and flown.” And, we will miss the noise and chaos of kids when they are away at college.

I like to look at all of life -- the fun and the exciting as well as the daily work and details -- as Adventure. It's the lens through which I like to view life. It's the attitude. What I preach to my kids.

Like life is if we look at it that way.

The Adventure of Parenting and Life: It’s all about the Attitude.

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Have you ever talked to your kids about their attitude, their perspective on life? Have you ever in your own life had an attitude check? I'd love to hear your journey in the comments section.

The post The Adventure of Life- It’s all about the Attitude appeared first on Cornelia Becker Seigneur.

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