Amy Rees Anderson

The Rule Against Why Or When

I moved every few years as a kid. My father’s work took us from Oregon, to Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, California and then Utah. Every time we moved and I had to say goodbye to my friends it was hard. That gave me a special appreciation for the fact that from the time my kids were 3 and 5 years old they were able to be raised in one neighborhood where they grew up with the same families. For us this neighborhood is truly home so whenever one of the families moves out of the neighborhood its always incredibly sad for us. It’s like having members of your family move away.

Today the father of one of the families that is moving away gave a talk in church. It was hard to hear his talk knowing that he and his family are moving away after they’ve lived in our neighborhood all of the years me and my kids have lived here. We are just really sad to see them go. But he gave an awesome talk and one of the things he shared was that in his home they’d made rule against starting off any comments with “why” or “when”. He shared that they’d found that anytime the kids started comments with “why” or “when” it was always followed by something negative such as “why do we have to do this and when will we be done” or “why is this happening to me and when is it going to end”.  He pointed out that comments were never something like “why am I having such a good day and when will I stop being so blessed”. So they’d set a rule that no one could start comments with “why” or “when” at their house and it had helped everyone face life in a more positive way.

What a great point. It was a little example but it taught a great lesson.  We all go through difficult times in our lives, but how we approach those hard times will make all the difference. We can make the choice to recognize our blessings in any circumstance. We can choose to focus on the positive in order to feel happy. 

I’m grateful for that reminder today because it pointed out that even though I’m sad my good friends are moving out of our neighborhood, I can feel happy about how blessed we’ve been to have had them close by us all these years and I can focus on how grateful I am that our friendship isn’t constrained by proximity so they will still be in our lives.

Choose to be happy!

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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