One of the lessons that our 11 month old Anjali is teaching us is to celebrate the little things…everyday. Since an early age, we’ve clapped or celebrated whenever she achieved some development milestone. She’s also been doing the same thing, clapping whenever we clap. But now she has taken to clapping by herself whenever she sees something to celebrate. Just in this last week:
- I brought some blueberries to the kitchen table (her favorite food) and she clapped her hands in anticipation.
- Anjali was working on a wooden puzzle piece and got it in the right place. Neither parent was helping her, but she gave herself a little clap and continued to play.
- Finally, I was heading out the door and I got the baby gate open that leads to the downstairs. Anjali saw me get through it and she clapped for me, as if “You did it, Dad! You escaped baby jail!”
These little celebrations are what keep her going and developing. And I wonder if we shouldn’t also be taking those little celebratory moments.
In college or graduate school, my friend would reward himself with an M&M per page of math homework completed, or an episode of a favorite show when the paper was done. How can you spread out the rewards in ways that help encourage you to finish that project that you haven’t completed yet?
With your family, we seem to often focus on what went wrong. We give attention to when our kids fell short of expectations. How can you find ways to celebrate and give positive reinforcement to the things your child does well? I know these go in waves: sometimes we can be focusing more on the shortcomings or the celebrations depending on the day or the week. So which wave are you in now and can you change it?
I’ll tell you an embarrassing one: I was driving and I made it through that pesky light that you can never seem to make it through…and no lie, I said “Yea!” in the same voice that I say it to Anjali when she does something new. No one else was in the car. A bit embarrassing, but a reminder that these little everyday celebrations can lift our spirits and it doesn’t matter who is around us!
What everyday celebration should you seek today? What ways can celebrating not just occasionally but often change your spiritual and emotional life? How can you seek out God’s joy for your life today?
Prayers and blessings until we see each other again, ~Jeremy