Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Live Life Like Christmas Morning

I got a text from my mother in law. "Please have the boys write out a list of five things they want for Christmas." I could hear them scampering about downstairs. School was out and they had forgotten to tell their brains they could sleep in. Like roosters, they were up boasting and beating up pillows with bravado, forming a castle to anhilialte all castles. When that was done, the squabbling started.

"Boys!" I beckoned as I walked down the stairs."Nana wants you to write out the five things you want for Christmas!"
All ears perked up. They froze and then dashed to find paper and any available writing utensil. A highliter, broken, naked crayon, they didn't care.
"Get some paper and write it out neatly." I directed needlessly, for they were well on their way.
Like a masterful magician, my eldest son wiped out a two foot chart with thirty toys listed, complete with pictures cut out from magazines, secured on with several layers of tape as if to protect it from a hurricane. How the heck did he produce that so fast I wondered...but my train of thought was broken by his clear and concise explanation he was launching into of each item.
I interrupted him...
"That's great sweetie, but Nana only wants five. You cannot give her that list."
"Oh, okay." he said, a bit disappointed...then he perked up. "I will pick my TOP five." And he did.
Then he helped Bronson pick five things and began to write his list for him....with items from HIS two foot list, so he could get more vicariously and I had to intervene and redirect Bronson to what HE wanted.Ben acquiesced and helped by writing down yet another version of Toy Story 3 toy that Bronson quite surprisingly does not have yet.
They wrote carefully, and with utter focus. They wrote happily and quickly, yet with the utmost care to spell everything correctly. They sounded out each word and didn't lift their eyes from their task until they were completely satisfied that their list was a masterpiece.
I stood in wonder.
See, flash back to a few month ago, when it was high summer and I feared their brains might be beginning to rot from lack of academic use...would they remember how to write coherent sentences after a three month break?
So one morning I sat them down and said "This morning you are going to write a story." I put pencil and paper before them and their bodies deflated before me with utter despair.
"WHAT? Noooooooooooo. Uhhhhhhh unnnnnnn....noooooooo."
"What? What are we going to write about? I don't wanna. I can't think of anything...but my hand hurts...I'm hungry...."
The complaints tested my patience like an elephant on a tightrope.
It was such an ordeal to get them to write a paragraph. They whined and whimpered for twenty minutes. Then after they were done, they sulked for another twenty, as if I had punished them and our trust was broken forever.

It occurred to me that the difference between this morning's request to write out a Christmas list and my previous request to write a story about anything they wanted...required the same exact action. One just occurred to them as much more exciting. The result would be of benefit to them, it would be thrilling and appealed to them because of the great promise of a fantastic result. The other, albeit the same exact actions, occurred to them as just writing to write, just doing to do.

I realized that, in life we react to how a situation OCCURS to us, how we see it, not how it is. If we want to live a life of excitement, focus, enjoyment and mastery, all we need to do is simply shift how that situation occurs to us. Creating an action as an opportunity, and seeing an end goal which excites us, even if we don't have control over the final result, is what has us live life fully.

So where ever I am in life, even when the future seems to be getting bleak, my children inspire me to make it a fantastic game...to envision an end goal where I am delighted, connected to people I love and jumping up and down ecstatically. Because I get to say how I see the world, and when I am present to the inspiration my children are, I choose a view that has me buzz with anticipation like Christmas morning.

Zen Honeycutt

No comments:

Post a Comment