A little perspective goes a long way.

5 years ago

Dear Perspective,

It’s so nice to have breakfast with you. Whenever I start the day with you by my side, not yelling comes so much easier. I remember that kids are just kids. I remember that spilled cereal isn’t the end of the world. I remember that it’s more important to have a good good-bye than a rushed one. I remember that not yelling is what matters to me more than not cleaning up. Yes perspective, you have been a dear friend of mine during this no-yelling challenge. You are welcome to come for breakfast, lunch and dinner any time. Just know that my house isn’t always clean and that I am an awful cook.

The Orange Rhino


I remember crying my eyes out on Thanksgiving this past year. There was a commercial for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I don’t recall the exact details but the message was clear: yes, this little boy just ran into the house with mud all over his shoes but a year ago he was in a hospital bed and didn’t have the energy to even get out of bed. The mud? It doesn’t matter. The fact that he can now walk? That matters. While the main message was all about the power of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, I took home a secondary message as well.

The Power of Perspective.

This wasn’t a new lesson to me. I realized on Day 3, take 2 (I think) of my Orange Rhino Challenge the importance of perspective. Just tonight I found a half written post about the subject. Why I never finished it I don’t know. Maybe because I knew that the power of perspective had such a profound impact on me that I feared I wouldn’t find the right words to express how I felt.

I wrote this: “Perspective. That’s all I need. 8 out of 10 times I’m yelling for no reason at all. For example, the fact that #3 is learning to feed himself is more important than the fact that the baby just crawled in the syrup that dripped off the piece of waffle that fell on the table after it fell off the fork.” I didn’t finish the middle of the post but did write an ending:

“Somehow I made it through today without yelling. And trust me, today the odds were stacked against me. But I did it. And I think it is all because of Perspective. I stopped and looked at things differently and that made all the difference.”

Here I am 353 days after that initial attempt at a post still struggling to find the perfect words to express just how important the role of perspective played in this challenge and how I went about finding said perspective. And I can’t find all the words. But I can find two.

At least.

These are my two new favorite words.  Seriously. Add it to any moment you want to yell and voila! life seems easier as it is filled with newfound perspective. Here’s a little perspective that keeps me from yelling day after day after day!

“Oh there is syrup dripping on the floor….at least the entire bottle isn’t dripping.”

“Oh he is climbing on the table… at least he isn’t hanging by the chandelier.”

“Oh he destroyed his bedroom…at least his brothers didn’t copy him.”

“Oh my life is so crazy with three kids with different therapy needs…at least they are in my life to love.”

I could go on and on and on. I think I will, at least for a bit. Here is a little more perspective.

“Ugh. I have 362 days left of this challenge…hey, at least I have gone 3 days that is better than none.”

“Ugh. I yelled today…hey at least I am trying to not yell.”

“Ugh. I still don’t like how this post is turning out…hey at least it will be done and off my mental to-do list that is bogging you down!”

See, at least really works wonders. Does at least not suit your fancy? Substitute any other word or phrase that helps you see spin the situation into positive light. My other popular choice? I’m grateful.

“It seems I have so many triggers…hey I’m grateful that I know who I am and what I need to work on.”

No matter what words you choose, the power of perspective remains the same.

Is it always easy to find perspective when things are rough? Is it always easy to stop and say at least or I’m grateful and keep on going? No, it isn’t. Sometimes the moment is too frustrating to be able to find perspective, to even want to find perspective. And sometimes it takes me longer to find perspective than I wish. Some moments it takes 3 seconds, other times 3 hours, or even 3 days.  But when I finally find that perspective, I truly feel a weight lifted. I feel a sense of peace and calm that allows me to parent with more patience and love. Do I care that if it took me longer than desired to get to that moment, or that it was hard to get there? Nope. Becauseat least I got there!The Orange Rhino


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