Life isn’t perfect. But why waste time focussing on the bad stuff when you can accentuate the positive?
I’m the first person to admit that our family life isn’t all sugary smiles and jolly japes. In fact, it’s more like an episode of Outnumbered with fewer jokes and more shouting. (Like the fictional Brockmans, our kids are boy/boy/girl.)
But, yeah, when I share photos of the kids, they’re generally smiling or doing something fun or amazing.
Here’s the reality, though. This photo of three happy children was taken on a day when I had them to myself. We were just about to go out for lunch together and I somehow managed to get a photo of all of them smiling. Toby wasn’t gurning. Kara wasn’t sticking out her tongue or pretending to be a cat. And Isaac wasn’t looking like someone trying way too hard to look natural for the camera. (Unfortunately he is the world’s second-least photogenic person – after me.)
They were good during lunch too. The rest of the day, however, they were an utter nightmare. A whingeing, arguing, shouting, bickering nightmare.
It happens. I’m used to flying solo with the three of them and we generally have a good time together. But there are occasional days when everything I do just brings out the worst in them – and in me.
You won’t see much written or photographic evidence of these moments, though. I’m not denying that life is less than perfect; it’s just that I don’t find the bad times very interesting.
It’s also too easy to dwell on those times when I’m not exactly Super Dad. I’m too quick to beat myself up for my parenting fails. Sometimes it’s better to chalk off a bad day, focus on the good moments and move on. Accentuate the positive.
Funnily enough, there’s an old song from the 1940s that goes by that very name. Although it’s actually titled Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive because … I don’t know why, it just is.
You probably know the song without realising it. It’s featured many times on films and TV, and has been recorded by many different artists over the years: Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald to name just a few. The lyrics extol the virtues of accentuating the positive as the key to happiness. As a motto for life, it’s a pretty good one.
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
So that’s the approach I take to my blog and my photos. After all, in a year’s time, will I remember the petty bickering? Of course not. What I want to remember – what I will remember – is three smiling kids on our driveway and a happy meal out. The rest can wait for my memoirs, which will be published round about the 12th of Never …