Yesterday we'd planned a swimming play date. But I got a call from my friend, suggesting we wait until a different day. It was already uncomfortably hot and sunny, and I didn't mind changing plans. We decided to meet at Chick-Fil-A instead, where we could all have lunch and the kids could have fun in the indoor play area.
The problem was...I'd already told Zoodle about the swimming plans. I want him to learn that sometimes plans change, and that's okay. So I gently broke the news to him.
Of course, it doesn't matter how "gently" you break bad news to a four-year-old. He cried, and threw a little fit, and needed to be cuddled. "I don't want to go to Chick-Fil-A!" he told me. "I want to go swimming!"
Eventually, he calmed down, and realized that he did still want to spend time with his friends. We got in the car so we could meet them.
On the way there, he said, "I'm glad we're going to Chick-Fil-A! That's more fun than swimming!"
What an attitude change! I told him how proud I was of him, that he was choosing a good attitude even after he'd been disappointed.
I consider myself an optimist. But I don't expect everything to always go my way. To me, optimism isn't about expecting to never be disappointed. That's just not realistic.
Optimism is about choosing to make the best of situations, even the tough ones. As an optimist, I want to have the attitude, "Good will come out of this, even if it's hard right now."
And that's what Zoodle chose to do. He realized he could enjoy his day, even if he wasn't doing the activity he originally preferred. And with that mindset, of course he had a blast at the restaurant.
I hope optimism is a trait both of my kids have naturally...and if they don't, I hope they choose to cultivate it. Optimism makes life a lot more fun.