Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. There are days when no matter how hard I try I just cannot seem to get my act together; days when I am treading water and not gaining any distance. Those times are troublesome and difficult, but by opening the possibility that Simple Joys are lurking I give myself permission to look for them. I offer myself an “out” from the predominate feelings of stress, stagnation, frustration, and fear. By accepting that I am always doing my best I can relax my expectations and allow life to happen around me and not try to control everything. When I loosen my grip of control, Simple Joys have a simpler time finding me and vice versa. Now, without further ado, is today’s Simple Joys.
Back-to-School Night. Attending Open House for my child’s school presents a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand I desperately want to feel confident that he is going to have a challenging and successful year and, on the other hand, I want to know that it will not be an overly challenging year so he can have a successful year! On top of those thoughts, I have the added concern of whether he is socializing well, an issue we’ve faced before. Upon entering the doors of his school all of my apprehension melted away. I saw familiar parents’ faces, caring administrators, and engaged teachers interested in the well-being of my child and the other children in their classroom. My fears were echoed by the other parents, my relief was seen in their eyes, too. The purpose of Back-to-School Night is to inform the parents of the curriculum, procedures, and policies of the school. For me and a host of other parents, it’s also a time to assuage our fears that our child isn’t unique in his/her behaviors, moods, and inadequacies. Having a place to do that at the beginning of the school year is an annual Simple Joy I cling to gratefully!
NASCAR fan. At the aforementioned Back-to-School Night I was seated next to an acquaintance I had not seen for years. I had recently friended him on Facebook, though, because I had noticed he was a NASCAR fan and I, being a NASCAR writer, thought that was enough of a basis to connect. Fate found us sitting next to one another. I didn’t think he’d really remember me, but, low and behold, he did. We spoke NASCAR for several excited and enthusiastic minutes. The magnetic pull of two NASCAR fans is a Simple Joy I relish each time it occurs!
Pack Meeting. Being the Den Leader for my son’s Cub Scout Den is a highly rewarding and sometimes tedious job. We attended our first Pack Meeting of the year recently which is customary for the beginning of the school year. Typically a long, drawn out event, I realized that my days attending such programs with my oldest child were quickly being numbered. Next September would be our last as Cub Scouts. We started together as Tiger Scouts and advanced ranks each year. At this year’s opening meeting I noticed the new crop of first grade Tigers. They are so young, green, and innocent. When I returned my gaze to my own Den I realized how the years flew in rapid fire succession. The sweet, young, wide-eyed boys were replaced with gawky, handsome, more confident, and taller young men; fourth grade Webelos 1s. Having the privilege to help guide, train, encourage, and explore with these boys is a Simple Joy that has been years running with a finite end in sight. The volunteering has an end; the Simple Joy of fulfilling memories will last a lifetime!
Popcorn Sales. In addition to meetings, camping trips, and working on achievements, Cub Scouts do fundraisers throughout the year. The fall is marked by popcorn sales much like the Girl Scouts sell cookies in the late winter. Our fundraising organizer in the Pack knows the benefit of moving the product in what’s known as a Show and Sell. The Cub Scouts, with prior permission, set up at the outside of a grocery store, chain pharmacy, discount store, or, in my son’s Den’s case, the local car wash. The boys arrive in their Class A formal dress uniforms and hawk their different varieties of popcorn for sale, “to help benefit the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts of America”. Amazingly some people are able to withstand the charms of these young boys, but most are eager to help and support the Pack by buying the product while others still simply donate flat out. Seeing these budding salesmen in action and witnessing the goodness of peoples’ hearts is a Simple Joy that is timeless and heart-warming.
Girls’ Night Out. When time permits I enjoy nothing more than going on a date with my husband. There are times, however, when a night out with the girls is warranted. My dear friend and I were invited to a mutual and much younger friend’s bachelorette party and accepted. We dressed up, kissed our respective children and husband’s goodbye with our thanks for the furlough, and welcomed the night that unfurled before us. Tame by most standards, the festive atmosphere, bevy of potent potables, and lively conversation made the evening a success! Mostly I was secretly relieved that I had nearly two decades of marriage under my belt, three fantastic kids to return home to, and a sense of belonging in my life that was hard-earned. Appreciating my life is a Simple Joy that is priceless!
When all else seems dark, plagued with problems, and/or frustrating, that is the time to wrestle yourself away from the despair and look for a way to break out. Sorting out your thoughts, finding a hole in the seam of your negativity, and keeping your receptors out for Simple Joys at every turn is definitely a step in the right direction to let positivity creep back into your life. Hopefulness, confidence, happiness are far more favorable to you than the alternatives. These feelings and emotions will keep your productivity and mood in sync. Recognizing that Simple Joys are ever-present and always available is a giant step in getting on the path of positivity. So, whether you write yours down like I do mine or you quietly think about all of the Simple Joys in your life, keep them in the forefront of your mind and let the positive affects waft over you again and again!
Please join me tomorrow when I wax poetic on freestyle Wednesday on Chief 187 Chatter!