If there is anything we can learn from our children, it is that perspective makes a world of difference. Isn’t it amazing how different a given situation can appear between observing it from the outside and actually experiencing it? This concept has taken on a new level of application in our household with the adoption of our youngest child’s “Happy Face”.
This representation of jubilation is quite accurately portrayed in the picture above, but it typically comes only after a prompting of, “Where is your Happy Face?” Interestingly enough, the perspective of which I speak is well suited to this very expression of joy. You see, as a two year old, she has not yet come to grips with the fact that simply announcing her happiness or pasting a smile on her face does not convince mom and dad that she is indeed happy.
Conversely, though, I have learned that her conscious decision to express happiness physically – whether in attempts to skip a nap time or to gain a treat of some sort – actually has some bearing on her mood as well. By deciding that she is happy about her current situation, she often completely changes her entire perspective of that situation – and therefore her mood as well.
Does this change of mood always work like a charm? Hardly. The other night, she was trying desperately to convince us that, because she was happy, she shouldn’t be taken to bed yet. The problem was this, though: as much as the word “happy” escaped her lips (over and over and over again), the repetition was only audible between sobs and tears of exhaustion. For some reason, from our perspective, despite her best attempts, we did not believe that the child was truly happy.
What does this have to do with ringing in the new year? Well, just as our daughter has decided to be “happy” through the circumstances faced in life – serious to her at this age, I’m sure, we likewise should predetermine to have a positive outlook and perspective through the coming year. Is everything going to fall into place and always give us reason to flaunt our Happy Face? Obviously not – at least on this planet. But we can steel ourselves, knowing that these situations will arise and determine that, through it all, we will remain positive.
I can’t help but get a smile on my face when I see her genuine Happy Face in this picture, and I’m sure that we will learn many more lessons from her (as well as our other children) in the year to come. So, as we wait these last few short hours until the new year is upon us, let’s gather all the strength we can muster, put on a Happy Face, and greet the new year with a smile!