I used to have a lot of trouble with happiness. My mom in her middle years modeled worrying. I was almost convinced that responsible people worried daily. Watching 60 Minutes will alert a person to all the hazards of life--or was it 20/20? Mom used to call me and tell me the next new hazard to watch out for. There were health hazards, too, to guard against.
How much did she affect my daily mental anguish? To this day, I run the water in the mornings for several minutes before taking a sip. She read once in Reader's Digest that drinking tap water that has lain in the pipe all night will shorten your lifetime by five years, done on a daily basis.
Mom made me feel guilty about messy cupboards, eating Little Debbie Cookies (too many preservatives) and nitrites and nitrates. She also gave me buoyancy in other things, like forgiveness and the grand heavenly scheme of things. So I'm not really bashing her whole outlook, just the worry part.
Funny, she's been gone almost 11 years now, and my relationship with her is still the defining one of my heart attitudes.
A mother is the primary life-interpreter for kids, the storyteller and translator.I decided I would never, ever call my kids to tell them about some horrible thing I saw in the paper that they should worry about!
I wanted my dialog with my kids to be different. I wanted a more positive script. When they were little, we began to tell each other our funny moments, hilarious and wondrous thoughts. This is one tiny strategy that helped carry us through the tense teen years. Now that the sparrows have flown the nest, they call back to tell me adventures of the day, epiphanies and dreams. I'm here to tell you that's a whole lot more fun than cheerless updates on the diminishing state of the world.
There are lots of places they can read the warning labels. From me, I want them to learn how to live well and be happy.