Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - Lessons Learned

Another busy year gone by. Holy smokes time flies by when you're having fun! One thing the 4 B's are good at is having fun, no doubt about it. We are also good at working really, really hard. 2013 has been a good year. Not as good as some years, but like Brady always says, "may as well have a good day as a bad one," and likewise, may as well have a good year as a bad one, right? It makes me sad when I read about what a bad, rotten, horrible year someone thinks they have had, when really, it is all in the attitude, isn't it? The secret to life lies in the lessons learned, and in not making the same mistakes over and over again. Granted, sometimes it is hard to see what the lesson is, and some folks would rather blame the universe than look at themselves. Deep blog post, this one...

The other day I asked my three B's what lessons they had learned over the past year. Brailey quickly piped up, "Fractions! And division, too!" Still adorable at eleven years old, our girl. After I explained that I was more interested in life lessons, she thought about it and came up with hers, and it was exactly what I would have said for her, too.

Brailey Shaye learned how to develop a sense of humor. She learned not to take herself so seriously and that it is okay to make mistakes. She learned it is not only okay, but almost better if you can laugh at yourself when you do something incorrectly. This came to her after many tears and lots of worry. I'm so glad she has discovered this lesson sooner rather than later. In other words, Brailey learned not to take herself so seriously.

Britt had no trouble at all coming up with his life lesson. He learned not to be sneaky. He is such a good boy, so please don't read into a situation that is private. His personal lesson was a hard one for him to learn, and he is still learning more about it. He is figuring out how to listen to that voice inside him that tells him what is right and what is wrong. That's a tough one for a nine year old to take on, but a lesson life has chosen to throw at him. He is on the right track to understanding it, that's for sure.

I was happy to hear Brady say he learned it is okay to make mistakes. He is prone to beating himself up for making any kind of a mistake, but he is realizing we all mess up, and not only is it okay, it is a great learning tool. This is excellent progress for Brady, and I hope it will be a relief to him in the years to come, and help take away some of the pressure he puts on himself.

Me? I learned not to force people into doing things they don't want to do. It never works out. No matter how much you think someone will enjoy something or realize the value of it, in the end, it is best not to push. In this regard, I have been learning acceptance, because I have suffered the ramifications of forcing things I shouldn't have. It has been a painful experience, let me tell you. I'm not talking about forcing things that are evil or negative. I'm referring to things I consider positive. But no matter - if someone doesn't want to do something, then leave it alone. 

We also learned some other things, this year. We learned how to be more positive in the face of adversity. We had plenty of opportunity to learn that over the course of the past twelve months, and had a big dose of it the past three months in particular (maybe I will write more about it later in another blog post). We learned how to follow our gut, how to follow our instinct, and moreover, how important it is to listen to that inner voice. We learned some friends are not really friends. We learned and are still learning how to stop making excuses, how easy it is to make excuses, how detrimental they can be. We are a work in progress - for example, instead of saying we don't have time for something, we say we haven't yet made time. We learned it is okay to stand up for ourselves and not to let people treat us rudely. We are still learning how to forgive - this is an easy one to practice, because there is always something or someone to forgive, isn't there? We learned how to appreciate our time together as a family more than ever, because time is the biggest mystery of all, and there is never enough of it.

It will be interesting to see what 2014 brings. I am praying for peace. Peace in our hearts, in our families, in our enemies and in the world. Peace of mind. Peace. A gift and a lesson from Jesus, a gift  much more complicated and precious than first meets the eye. "Peace I leave you, and my peace I give to you." We hear these words, quoted from Jesus, during every Mass. What a gift! May you have peace in 2014, in whatever regard you need it most. Peace be with you. Peace.

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