5 things kids teach us about determination

happy-childThis morning, during the usual insane morning routine of getting five people to slurp down smoothies, scarf down oatmeal and stuff down toast, at one point I realized my daughter was wearing leggings with a hole in the butt. Her flowered underwear poking through saying “look at me world!”

When I told her she wasn’t going to school like that and she had to change, of course the typical negotiation ensued.

“But mom, I love these leggings.”


“But mom, these are my last clean pair. You haven’t done laundry in like two weeks.”

(Kinda true, but that didn’t mean she was going to school with a beacon on her behind.) “No way.”

“Come on mom. It’s not that big of a hole.”

“Not going to happen, my love.”

“If I change, it will take too long and I’ll be late for the bus.”

“Believe me. You’ve got time.”

“Please mom. I’ll just cover it with my shirt.” (which of course instantly rides up the seconds she pulls it down.)

“Nice try.”

Pause…wheels in her head spinning at full speed.

“What if I put shorts over top.”

Hmmm, she might have something there.

I relent. “OK. I guess that’s fine. Just cover up that butt!”

As I sat back and finished my oatmeal, I couldn’t help but be impressed by her problem-solving ability and more importantly, her determination. She so badly wanted to wear those pants that she focused all of her energy on finding a solution. She wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She would find a way…and she did.

Napoleon Hill calls this having a burning desire and making a definite plan. Kids have burning desires down pat. When they get focused on wanting something, any parent knows how friggin’ hard it is to convince them otherwise. But the incredible thing, is watching a child work her way through a problem to come up with a solution. My daughter has always been a master at that.

For some of us who settle, or give up too easily, or take the easy road – which is probably all of us at certain times in our lives – think about or watch children in action. We could all use a little of their moxie.

5 things kids do we could all learn from:

  1. When you don’t succeed the first time, try again…and again…and again.
  2. When you hear the word ‘no’ (100 times), don’t care what other people say. It’s not about them.
  3. Have total clarity on what you want. It’s easier not to get distracted.
  4. Stay focused; want it so badly that nothing else around you matters.
  5. Be creative. There is always more than one way to solve a problem.

Successful people in this world do all of these same things. They are clear about the goal. They stay focused on the goal. The make a plan to reach the goal, but are able to adapt if need be, and they don’t stop until they’ve achieved the goal.

It’s in all of us. So embrace your inner child…as long as you cover your butt!

Instrument of light and joy

I have this belief that we all have this incredible glory and light within us, but most of us – me included – are too damn afraid to admit that we might be pretty wonderful people if we just gave ourselves a chance. I also believe that it’s in the opening of ourselves and sharing even the tiniest glimpses of our inner glory with each other, that the the light within actually shines brighter and makes the world that much better of a place.

My simple desire is to be an instrument of light – of my own and maybe of those around me who I connect with or who come to this space.

This makes me think of one of my favourite songs: Great Big Sea’s “When I’m Up”. It starts with “I am the fountain of affection. I am the instrument of joy,” and it continues with “I am lifted. I am lifted. When I’m up I can’t get down, can’t get down, can’t get level. When I’m up I can’t get down, get my feet back on the ground.” Every time I hear it I get pumped and am lifted! I want to dance like a crazy woman soaking up the energy and joy it brings out in me.

I start screaming, “Yes! That’s me! I want to be an instrument of joy! I want to bring out the joy in my kids! I want to bring out the joy in my friends! I want to bring out the joy at work! I want to bring out the joy in the entire world!” and on and on until I’ve gone from bringing out the joy in the entire world to the entire Milky Way to the entire, infinite universe in my enthusiasm. My simple desires, aren’t always that simple to be honest.

Anyway, I honestly am lifted by the concept. I’m lifted by the possibility of being an instrument of light or joy in everyday moments that feel to most of us just like that – everyday moments. Dreary. Boring. Normal. Sameness. Why not? Because it’s actually in those every day moments when the magic happens even though we don’t usually take a second to see it. Too busy getting ready for the next thing to happen, we don’t actually see what is happening right now.

LIke this morning, for example. It’s about time to leave and my 7-year old hasn’t yet brushed her teeth because I said something about paper airplanes and she just had to run downstairs to make one right then. There is no later with kids. And, of course, I’m simply anxious and hyper about getting out the door on time that I didn’t soak up how completely focused and excited she was by the possibility of her ability to make a piece of paper fly. So being the awesome mother I am, I scolded her for dinking around and ended up making her cry. How am I an instrument of joy in that scenario? #FAIL – as my 10-year old would say.

Anyway, I get I won’t be successful in every moment, but I can still have the simple desire to be it more often. That’s all I’m going for. That’s all any of us can go for. I just know the more we deliberately try, the more often we’ll get it right, and maybe the more we’ll rub off on others. So, I’m in. You?