A Change of Attitude
…By Prill Boyle
Attitude might not be everything, but it\’s a good place to start if you want something in your life to change.
Let me tell you a personal story.
After my youngest son was born, I did not have warm and fuzzy feelings
about him. For three months, he had colic and cried all the time. Well
into his second year, no matter what my husband and I did, we couldn\’t
get him to stick to a schedule or listen to adults. If we told him not
to whack his friend, he\’d get a twinkle in his eye and do it anyway. If
we tried reverse psychology, he\’d outsmart us.
Then one day when he was about two and a half years old, I walked into
the kitchen and discovered him sitting atop our fridge. Out of sight
less than five minutes, he had pulled a chair over to the cabinets,
climbed on the counter, and hiked himself onto the appliance. As I
stared up at him, I thought, I can\’t even go to the bathroom without
worrying about this child getting into some kind of mischief.
Worn down by his antics, I came unglued. Shaking my head in disbelief,
I screamed, “I hate you!” As soon as the words flew out of my mouth, I
wanted to retrieve them and shove them back inside. Unable to reverse
the clock, I did the next best thing. Climbing on the same chair my son
had used, I reached up, grabbed his little body, and folded him in my
“I didn\’t mean that,” I said to him. “Mommy loves you.” Then I calmed
down and told myself that I was the adult and that the only thing I
could change in this relationship was my attitude. So after lifting him
off the fridge and putting him on the floor to play with a few pots and
pans, I walked over to my kitchen table, sat down, and decided it was
time for a heart-to-heart chat with myself.
I began by asking two questions:
First, if this child weren\’t my son, if he weren\’t someone who
threatened my self-worth by making me feel like a failure as a mother,
what would I admire about him?
And second, how might these qualities serve him in the long run?
As I gazed at my little boy, I thought, He\’s fiercely intelligent. How
wonderful! He\’s athletic. How wonderful! He\’s strong-willed and doesn\’t
give up until he gets what he wants. HOW WONDERFUL!
All of a sudden, I saw this person not as a little hellion but as a future leader!
From that moment on, our relationship began to improve. I no longer
took his defiance quite so personally. I started delighting in his
gifts and exalting his eccentricities. Perhaps feeling my support, he
began to blossom, eventually graduating near the top of his high school
class and becoming a state track champion. Today, he\’s educated,
employed, and financially independent. (Yes, I count my blessings.) I
couldn\’t be prouder of him.
True, my son might very well have accomplished all he has without my
change of heart. But I wouldn\’t have enjoyed being his parent nearly as
That\’s the power of attitude!