"...life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you..." -Charles R. Swindoll

      “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” -Charles R. Swindoll
I was having breakfast with my 8 year old Sunday and a moment of gratitude hit me. It was one of those moments as a parent that you see the fruits of your investment in your children. Her birthday falls right at the cusp of the school year, hence she is the youngest in her class. A few years ago we had the option of starting her in kindergarten when she was eligible, or waiting a year. My wife and I decided wholeheartedly to start her right away instead of waiting. We felt she was bright enough and mature enough. Fast forward a few years and now she just turned 8 and is in third grade. She is in the gifted and talented program for the district, and plays travel soccer for an elite academy team.
 Milan and I at the Father/Daughter dance.
In spite of all the achievements I started asking myself lately; what would it be like if we had waited? Besides her being so bright and us being giddy about starting her earlier rather than later, why did we do it?.........she's doing well, but what if we had waited a year? wouldn't she have had an advantage academically being the oldest rather than the youngest? had we done a disservice by starting her when we did? had we made it harder for her? wouldn't she have had an easier time in soccer being a little bigger if we had waited a year?  -- I asked my wife her thoughts and she immediately reassured me that we had made the right decision starting her the first year she was eligible for kindergarten. I appreciated her reassurance, but my questions were not put to rest until this random breakfast encounter happened with my daughter.

I was eating breakfast at the kitchen table with my two boys (1 and 4), when my daughter Milan came waltzing in, sleepy eyed and in her pajamas.

"Good morning Angel"
She walked over and put her arms around me and leaned her head on me.
"What do you want for breakfast", I asked.
I pulled out the waffles and popped them into the toaster. By now my two boys had finished eating and had left the table. They were wrestling on the floor in the living room.
"Milan, you're in third grade right?"
She looked at me the way she does when I sometimes confuse her age.
"Uh, yeah Dad."
"What if you were in second?"
"What do you mean?", she asked.
"Well, what I mean is what if you were in second grade? Mommy and I started you in school as soon as we could. What if we had waited a year and you were in second grade now? Wouldn't it be better?"
"No Dad, what do you mean? There wouldn't be any competition."

I looked at her and just stared, and then the corners of my mouth turned up. I don't think I'll ever question that decision again. As a parent, it was one of the most rewarding feelings I've had. I guess whatever we're doing in how we handle life's stresses, challenges, and obstacles; our children are absorbing the right message. Whether it's the 4 hour commute I do everyday to my office, my wife's dedication at home, or how I handled my open heart surgery. Attitude is everything, and the quote at the top of this page says it perfectly. If you're going through something challenging keep a positive attitude. You will feel better, and it will be contagious to the people around you, especially children.


Erika said...

Thank you for this post. Truer words have never been written - please know you've once again inspired me. Milan is gorgeous by the way :)

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