Hold on to the Good
I’ve had a lot of ugly in my life lately, and the stress it’s created has been almost unbearable. Camping has been an important escape and has provided a break from carrying that stress day in and day out. I’m also grateful that the situation seems to be improving so I’m able to see some light, which has been encouraging and helpful.
This past weekend, my family and I headed to Falcon Lake, one of our favourite camping destinations. This year with the pandemic, though, it was very challenging to book campsites because it seems like a lot more people are discovering this incredible way of vacationing while staying in the province. We were therefore very lucky to get a spot this long weekend, even if it meant that it wasn’t one of our usual sites. As we got there on Friday and started setting up, we quickly realized that our spot wasn’t private at all and that we were essentially sharing a space with three other families. We still enjoyed an amazing getaway and did all of our favourite activities – beach time, kayaking & paddle boarding, biking, ice cream trips, runs, campfires and s’mores, fishing, stick carving, and so much more.
One of my favourite memories from this trip was when the boys made breakfast, almost on their own. They’ve been super interested in cooking and baking this summer, so we each gave them a job and then devoured this feast together. Emmett made the eggs, Brooks made sausage, Brecken made hash browns, and Caden (who has mastered making us burgers on the BBQ) was happy to get the easy job of making toast.
This camping trip also marked a bit of a milestone for our family as our boys were actually interested in sitting around the fire for more than a few minutes and talk. Another thing that they’ve been into lately is “would you rather…” so this topic quickly overtook our conversation. We went around the circle and asked our “would you rather…” questions and had fun listening to everyone’s answers and reasoning.
Would you rather swim in a pool full of pickle juice or mustard?
Would you rather live in a world of Minecraft or Fortnite?
Would you rather it always be winter or summer?
Would you rather be a famous YouTuber or an NHL player?
As we were packing up to come home, one of our camping neighbours popped her head in and said, “I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed listening to your family and watching you interact this weekend. I have three boys who are now grown, and this brought back memories we made together when they were younger.” We thanked her and responded that we didn’t know if our boys were too loud or rambunctious, but she assured us that they were perfect and that if anyone was too loud or rambunctious, it was her boys when they were younger. She continued on to say that they grow up so fast and that she now has 9 grandchildren.
This 30 second interaction meant everything, and I want to hold on to it forever.
How quick are we to hold on to the bad? The negative tends to get stuck in our minds and is replayed over and over again. The positive, though, tends to be diminished and forgotten.
So, I invite you to hold on to the good. Keep a feel-good folder in your inbox when you receive a kind message from parents, students, colleagues, or admin. Have a physical folder or designated spot where you keep mementoes that remind you of the good that you’re doing. Refer to these often, keep them fresh in your mind. Don’t let them be diminished or forgotten.
I also invite you to be the good. That camping neighbour could have gone on her way and thought what she did without ever saying it. Then, though, she would never have had this impact on me. She wouldn’t have reminded me that I am a good mother, that my boys are just perfect, flaws, fights, and all. You never know how profound of an impact you might have on someone with a few kind words. Offer these freely and frequently.
How can you remind others of their good?
What good can you remind yourself of and hold on to?