Your Perspective

I had a good weekend visit with my wife and kids this past weekend. We had some great conversations. There were times of remembrance, as we shared fond memories and times of laughter. One of the conversations I had with my oldest daughter, now 13 years old, was when she asked me about what I had for breakfast that morning. I started to explain my piece of pound cake with grits, and a slice of cantaloupe. I stated it all in a positive manner, as it was in fact very good, especially the slice of cantaloupe. It had been a while since I’d had something that fresh and especially cantaloupe. Her immediate response was simply what do you mean daddy? You said that all prison food is disgusting.

I paused remembering past conversations and how negative I have been about so many of my experiences while incarcerated. I spent the next 15 minutes just talking about my changed perspective. Yes, I can focus on the fact that I have never liked grits, or how small that the piece of cantaloupe that was allotted was. I could have focused on the fact that most meals served to adult men are portions smaller then my two year old or eight year old will eat for a meal. I could focus on the food too often being cold, with little or no taste. Or, I could remember the last time I ate cantaloupe and be grateful for a different fruit.I could be thankful for the warm pound cake I ate. It doesn't change what I am eating. It doesn't change my circumstances or environment, but it does change my attitude and my perspective. I tried to model for her the practice of "looking for the good and being grateful for the small things". I explained how that positively affected my day, my meal, my moment. The conversation progressed to her feeling like we are "poor" and we talked about how wrong that was. We are in fact quite rich. She has a mom and a dad that love her with all their heart. She has a closet full of choices of clothes and shoes. Her cupboard at home, her refrigerator at home also has choices of food in them. We are healthy. She has her own room. We have access to great and affordable healthcare and live in a country that helps to give us our food, our insurance, our housing for many of us in need. I reminded her how fortunate we are and in fact how blessed we are and how much better off we are then so many others across the world. It all depends on our perspective. It’s all in our attitude. Choose today to be grateful. Choose today to count your blessings. Choose today to see the good.