The Power of Positive Thinking…

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Yesterday was the last day of a long holiday weekend. We had gathered with friends and neighbors, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The children had played and stayed up late and I could tell that F, who doesn’t really nap anymore was headed for a meltdown.

Sure enough when we sat down for school, he started to come apart. I don’t even remember now what the trigger issue was (washing his hands?) but he was quickly slipping into that stubborn/tired mood where nothing is good and all he can do is whine and cry.

So I asked:

“Do you know what negative thoughts are?”

“No.” he pouted while flopping about on my lap.

I explained that positive thoughts are when we think well about something or someone, and gave an example, “today is a good day, because Papa only has to work in the morning.” Then I gave an example of a negative thought, “Today is a bad day, because Papa is at work and it’s really hot out.” F and Su understood that.

“Now,” I said,” you can build your attitude with your thoughts. It’s just like Legoes. If you start with a negative thought block and add another negative thought block on top, it is easier to add a third negative than to switch to a positive thought. Pretty soon, you have a tower of Legoes or a whole day filled with negative thoughts and because you thought about the day being bad, you had a bad attitude, it got you into trouble and you really did have a bad day.”

They seemed to understand that so I went on to explain how the same thing was true of positive thoughts and then asked them give positive thoughts about various family members.? They thought this was a good game and by the end of this ten minutes or so of discussion F was happy again and ready to tackle his schoolwork.

As I thought about this incident later I realized that I need to do more of this kind of thing. As preschoolers it is not enough for them when I point out that they have a bad attitude, they don’t have enough self-knowledge at this age to know how to change their attitudes and instead just feel like I am on their case for something they don’t really understand.

Instead I need to:

  1. Model a positive, thankful attitude myself.
  2. Explain what attitudes are until they do understand.
  3. Point out bad attitudes, and help them figure out the triggers.
  4. Encourage good attitudes, praise and reward them.
  5. Do more “counting of blessings” especially about each other.
  6. Point out and help them change body language that reinforces bad attitudes.
  7. Pray with and for them, for grace in this area.
  8. Take the time to deal with attitudes rather than making excuses (ie, “oh they were up late, last night” etc.)
  9. Begin and end the day thinking about the good things in life
  10. Discuss and sympathize over disappointments without focusing on them over much.

For more encourage visit Ann Voskamp, who has been a great encouragement to me in this area.

Linked over to Top Ten Tuesday.

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2 Responses to The Power of Positive Thinking…

  1. oh amanda says:

    I am so with you on positive words. The Bible says our tongue has the power of life and death. So, saying those positive words DO make a difference in our attitudes–and of our kids.

    Thanks for sharing that teachable moment! {and thanks for linking up!}

  2. Jessica says:

    Great list with such good reminders! I think you did a great job of illustrating an abstract concept in a concrete way.

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