For most of my life I have worked with young children. From babysitting, to being nursery leader, to nannying, and currently as an aide at a preschool. I’m with children all the time. Every now and then a child teaches me a life lesson that really couldn’t be learned from an adult, because it is through the simplicity of having a three year old say something that an adult can’t say without sounding like they are trying to manipulate or criticize you.
A few weeks ago, I was helping some children get their rain boots on so they could go play on the muddy playground. They had already gone out earlier that day, and socks had gotten wet. One child in particular was struggling to get their boots on over their wet socks. The child fussed, and whined, and dropped the boot in frustration. I finally decided to let the child know their options.
“You can take off your wet socks and wear the boots without socks. Or you can just deal with it.”
(I know it sounds harsh… hang in there)
The child looked at me, heaved a heavy sigh for a three year old and said. “Ok. I’ll just deal with it.”
The child then put their rain boots on, and ran off to play on the playground. For the rest of the day, not a word of complaint or discomfort came from that child. They had made the decision to “Just deal with it” and stuck with it.
As I thought about this, a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland came to mind: “ No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-tongue-of-angels?lang=eng)
As I related this incident to my dad (a freakin’ awesome guy, btw), we talked for a bit about this life lesson. As adults, and teens, and even children, there is a tendency to put blame elsewhere; To complain, to whine, and to expend energy on not dealing with a situation and getting through it, but rather in complaining about it. In my dad's experience, those that can 'Deal with it' are those that are more successful in life. People want to be around them more, and they get more accomplished in life because they are not expending negative vibes, or wasting energy in complaining about what's going on around them.
How can we as adults ‘just deal with it’ and in the process improve our lives? I know that for several people they use the month of November to focus on gratitude. They post daily on social media sites something they are grateful for. Unfortunately, quite a few people I know preface their ‘thankful’ post with a rant, complaint, or whine and follow it with “But I’m grateful for…”. While I think focusing on gratitude is a good practice, I personally feel that if we can reduce the whining, complaining, and blaming in our daily lives we will automatically be more grateful. Because we aren’t drawing attention to the ‘negative’, we are just dealing with it and moving on.