An older woman once gave me some advice that has gone a long way towards shaping my parenting. It wasn't even meant to be parenting advice, but there you have it.
Anyway, I was talking with her about a pretty serious problem I was going through and I was feeling pretty swallowed up by it, you know the feeling? She says, "Yvonne, you have to take the teeth out of it." Um, what? She laughed and said, "You have to let your mind follow it all they way out to the worst possible scenario and realize that even the worst possible scenario isn't so bad." You know what? Most of the time, that is true. Many times, the worst part of dealing with a problem is the fear that goes along with it.
There is some statistic I read a long time ago somewhere (ha! how's that for non-committal??) that says 80% of the things we worry about never happen. That, my friends, is A LOT of wasted time.
This idea has so impacted me that I pass it along to my kids without even realizing it sometimes. Say they are having trouble with a friend at school and are worried that said friend will no longer be their friend. Without thinking, I will say something like, "Well, what if she isn't your friend? How much power does her friendship really hold? Will that keep you from learning? Will it keep you from having other friends? Will it stop us from loving you? Will you not graduate high school because of it?" You get the idea.
It works for just about everything. A couple of years ago, we had some pretty serious money trouble and I was pretty worked up about it. Then, one day, I thought, wait. What is the worst thing that could happen? We could lose our house. And that would be bad. But, you know what? Even if we do, so what?
We live in a country where we are so fortunate to be able to start over. We have family and friends who would have helped us had that been the case. We have each other. And, we have God, who is always on our side. From that moment forward, the situation looked a lot different to me. Also, we didn't lose our house, which is a great fringe benefit. :)
I want, so much, for my kids to really grab ahold of this idea. Life will throw you some curve balls. But, don't let that control you or your outlook on life. As the saying goes:
Perspective isn't something. It is everything.