Examining your own life is an interesting process, as you’ll find yourself laughing at experiences that at the time were less than funny. I remember raising my last teenage son and trying to teach him how to drive a car. For some reason, he wasn’t interested in leaving his exciting video games to master the fundamentals of operating the family vehicle. In his own words “I can always have someone drive me around.” At the time those words didn’t seem funny, but irritating. I certainly didn’t want that role as I was looking forward to my empty nest years. They didn’t include chauffeuring this son to college, etc. He, in his inexperience, didn’t realize that driving equals independence.
Well, I finally got him into the family car with its automatic transmission. All he had to do was steer it on the road. Being early spring, the only problem was that Utah roads are notoriously full of potholes. He wanted to stay close to the outside of our town’s two-lane road to avoid oncoming cars. On our very first outing, I remember yelling, “Watch out for the potholes,” just as he hit a very deep one directly. Immediately, I ordered him to pull off the road as our front tire was loosing its air quickly. We changed drivers before I drove to the closest tire store. The mechanic on duty was amazed at how flat the tire when we got there. He said, “The rim is probably bent.”
Thinking…Okay, this is a test that definitely demonstrates your outlook or attitude toward life. I bit my tongue as I realized that chewing out my teenager for his mistake would not help him with his reluctance to try driving again, and to leave the nest one day. Thankfully, the mechanic was able to straighten out the rim without replacing the whole thing. My son went on to get his drivers license, and is one of the most cautious drivers in our family today.
I think an optimist ACTS upon a situation seeing the overall picture, while a pessimist REACTS instead. Do some analysis of your own life. Have there been situations where you’ve reacted rather than acted positively towards the negative experiences that come to everyone? Life is full of lessons, and laughing is certainly easier than crying or complaining. Write down one of your most challenging experiences, and what you discovered about yourself.