As we sat in a dessert parlor right outside of the University of Georgia campus eating our ice cream and crepe desserts today, I asked the kids to tell me about their favorite books or stories. At first, they seemed to struggle with that question.
Our 9 year old finally admitted that she didn’t have a favorite story. Our 5 year finally said she loved the story about the hungry caterpillar that ate all of the food (The Very Hungry Caterpillar.) I asked her why she liked that story. She said because at the end, the caterpillar turned into a butterfly with beautiful colors. I thought, yep, that’s her story because she’s our little princess and she loves all things that are beautiful.
I asked our 3 year old the same question and received the answer that I expected. She said: “I love the story with the caterpillar.” I said you copied your big sister and she just giggled.
I finally asked my nine year old if she could write a story about her life, what it would be. And she said she would write about all of her favorite adventures like the one we were on today. And she would write about hanging out with her friends which is her absolute favorite thing to do in the world. I was happy that she considered our impromptu family outing to tour the University of Georgia campus as one of her adventures. I smiled and was glad that she was enjoying herself.
I was also secretly glad that each of them had happy stories to tell me. This has not always been the case for all of my kids though. I can recall the stories that our oldest child (who is almost 19) would write in his daily journals. They were not so happy.
When he was in 2nd or 3rd grade, he brought home his daily writing journal at the end of the semester. I felt so sad and embarrassed when I read the stories that depicted his father and me arguing. Prior to reading his journal, I wasn’t even aware that he was watching us. He wasn’t just playing with his Legos or watching TV. He was soaking it all in. He knew that I was not happy. And as a result, neither was he.
His journal told me that I was not providing a happy, safe, peaceful, stable environment for my child. I didn’t think about the affect that my tumultuous relationship would have on him. But it came out in his writing and in his behavior at school.
That journal was a wake up call for me. What type of environment and home life was I making for my child? What type of childhood memories would he have? I had to make some serious changes over the years in order to change his story and the story of his siblings.
Those changes started with me doing the following:
How can we expect our kids to be happy if they are surrounded by unhappiness at home. If you are not happy with your present situation, then you owe it to yourself and your kids to make some changes. Not only do you deserve to have a happy story, but your kids do too!
BMWK Family – If your kids told a story of their life, what would it be? Have your kids ever written or said things that made you want to make some changes? What things are you doing to ensure that your kids have a happy story to tell?
Disclosure: This post is part of a series that is sponsored by Hallmark and the Life is a Special Occasion campaign. All opinions and editorial content expressed are my own.