Choose Happiness

There is a lot of information out there about mindset. Your outlook on life drives everything you do, and sets the example for your family. You can choose to either let the world and life get you down, or to take each day on with the best perspective you can – to choose happiness.

A great book on this topic is Mindset, by Carol Dweck. I would highly recommend it if you’re interested.

Choose to be happy, every day. Your mindset drives everything!

Sometimes, it is hard to find the good in each and every day. We all have challenges and struggles. Kids get sick, we get bad news, life happens. How we deal with each challenge is what matters.

I’ve talked before about our Adventures in Parenting (including trips to the ER and kids getting stitches) and most recently about my theme for this year – None of us are Perfect. The challenges that we face as moms and dads can be tough. But we are up to the challenge!

Choose happiness.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a day skiing with both of my older kids. Well, my son and I skied and the teenager snowboarded – I told her she has gone over to the “dark side.”

I love to ski. It is one of my favorite family memories growing up. My mom and her brothers have skied their whole lives, and they passed their love of the sport on to each of us. However, I really don’t get to do it very often, and haven’t gone more than once a year since college.

I love to ski!

Is there an activity or sport that you love, and your kids or spouse are not that into it? Skiing is that sport for me.  Realistically, so is swimming. After being a competitive swimmer for most of the first half of my life, and moving into coaching during college, I lost track of it after I had kids.

I have both geographical and regular life challenges to skiing more often now that I have a busy mom life. I live about 4 hours away from the nearest resort. My husband does not ski, and travels most of the time during the week – and when he does come home, he wants to be home. My kids are in school all week and we can’t just drive up for the day like I did when I was their age. And, it is expensive.

I am not able to go swim every day like I did while growing up and in college (and after college, for that matter). The closest indoor pool to me is an hour away in 3 different directions. And, when our outdoor pool is open, the adult swim times don’t always fit into a busy mom schedule.

However, when I get the chance, I still very much enjoy both activities. Back to skiing with my kids. My oldest daughter absolutely hated skiing. I tried when she was little – went to ski with her for the first time when she was 3. And she wouldn’t even stand up in the boots. A few years ago, I did get her up on the mountain for one day. And she still was not a fan. Since then, she has tried snowshoeing, tubing, and other fun activities, and she has discovered snowboarding. She loves it, and as much as I’m not a fan, I’m glad she is, and I’m just happy to spend the day with her.

My son, taking on the mountain!

My eight year old son, on the other hand, has been happy to ski, and has begged me for the last two years to ski with me instead of going to ski school. This time, he spent the morning in lessons, got a little altitude sickness, took a little nap and ate some food, and he went up the mountain and did an entire run with me. And it was so much fun! (And work, I’ve told my mom and uncles – I don’t know how they taught all of us and kept us going all those years)!

Choose happiness.

Your outlook translates to your kids. My daughter does not enjoy skiing, but she knows I do, and she tried. She had no interest in learning from me – in fact she told me I was not a good teacher – but she’s found her thing, and we still enjoy spending the day together.

My son just wanted to do what I like to do, and when he got scared at the top of the mountain, I asked him what he learned in class that morning. “Turns and stops, mom.” I told him, “ok, we’re going to just do turns and stops all the way down.” And we did. He fell – a lot! And by the time we made it down, he was a rock star.

I was a competitive swimmer for 17 years. None of my kids so far have any interest in joining the swim team. The oldest failed every swim lesson she ever took. She is stubborn, and she does know how to swim – but has no interest in doing strokes or bobs or anything of that nature. My son has passed every lesson, swims like a fish, and still doesn’t want to go to practice every day and do the strokes. And that’s ok. Maybe the youngest will be the one…if I can ever get her to put her face in the water!

Choose happiness.

The fact that I can still ski for four hours on my one day a year out on the slopes encourages me so much. I am not in the best shape ever – as I found when I made it to the gym last week and one mile on the elliptical kicked my butt – but I can hold my own doing what I’ve always loved to do. And it’s about having fun.

Set a goal to do one fun thing with your kids, every day or week.

Find your fun thing.

Is there something you loved to do years ago that has gotten away from you? Is it something you could share with your kids? Just because my kids don’t absolutely love the same things I did, doesn’t mean I don’t still share them.

How can you find the fun? Cherish the opportunities – sieze the day – to take your kids out for a day on the slopes. Take them to the hotel pool when you have a few hours free on a trip. Go shoot hoops at the park if you have an afternoon free on a nice day.

Choose happiness.

Take on each day/week with the goal of finding one fun thing to do with your kids. Make happy memories with them. Give them your undivided attention for an hour. Find the fun, choose to be happy, give them a positive outlook, and just enjoy life. Those memories are what they will remember later on.

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