Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Hats

Happy SwimmerOne of my favorite characters in the movie "Finding Nemo" is a fish named Dori, who responds to every setback with a happy little tune, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Maybe that is why I love this picture! It just makes me smile. Every time! What a happy hat! My Daddy used to have this funny hat with purple and green flowers on it that he called his "happy hat." We loved to tease him about it, which was great because he wore it often. As a high school teacher and coach of forty years, he taught a lot about attitude; he used to say to his students, "There are a lot of attitudes out there. Now go pick a good one!" He teases his grandkids, saying, "If you don't smile, we'll send you back." At least I think he's teasing. They all smile a lot! My husband shares with audiences he speaks to, "Attitude is a choice!" He says it with conviction and they believe him. I do too. He chooses a good attitude on a daily basis in spite of frustrations, disappointments and setbacks. He refuses to allow his confidence to be shaken, and he keeps a can-do outlook firmly in place. His attitude is contagious! It doesn't always feel like our attitude is chosen, but it really is. Sometimes failing to choose a good attitude is tantamount to choosing a negative one--human nature is just like that. It takes no effort at all to grumble and expect the worst, but a good deal of effort to choose a bright view when things are hard or we're disappointed. We absolutely are NOT forced to have bad attitude. I remember Flip Wilson's character Geraldine (I know I’m dating myself) and her famous line, "The devil made me do it." Everyone laughed because they knew perfectly well that Geraldine was just deflecting blame for something she chose to do herself. We all saw through Geraldine because we recognized ourselves in her . . . just a little bit. When it comes to attitude, we kind of excuse our bad ones, thinking, "I can't help it! Look what happened!" as if the happening necessitated the souring. "The devil made me do it!" we whine. The children of Israel frequently found themselves at the crossroads between opposing attitudes--to choose fear or faith, gratitude or grumbling, life or death. Too many times they chose poorly . . . humanly . . . naturally--their lives were always devastated when they got it wrong. We like to think we're so superior and that if WE had been there WE would have been good little faithful children. Unfortunately, we are very like those ancient Hebrews who stumbled around in the desert, wishing they had just believed . . . thanked . . . trusted God in the first place.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds," James 1:2 NIV
So, Lord help me--when I am facing the prospect of swimming proverbial laps, perhaps in a pool not of my own choosing, help me to put on my "happy hat" and brighten someone else's day while I splash and pull and kick my way through to the finish line. Tell me about your "happy hats." How do you choose a good attitude when it would be easier to complain? HAVE A HAPPY DAY!! This post has inspired a new greeting card--hope you like it!

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