What We can Learn from Kids

If you’re a fan of the Food Network or cooking shows in general, you’ve probably noticed the overabundance of shows featuring kids these days. Namely, Chopped Junior, Kids Baking Championship, Rachael vs Guy Kids Cook-off, and on a different note, Project Runway Junior on Lifetime.Chopped Junior

I haven’t watched all of these shows, but I’ve caught a few. At first, before watching any of the shows, I had a negative attitude. Why would I want to see a bunch of kids cook or sew or whatever. It didn’t appeal to me.

But as a longtime viewer of both Chopped and Project Runway, I started watching. And now I don’t want to miss an episode. First, these kids have more talent than I can imagine. They inspire. They have passion, and most of all, they have FUN!

But one of the main things I’ve noticed is the spirit and positive attitudes of these kids. Yes, they’re on a competition show, and unfortunately, not all will win. But these kids have the attitude of “we’re all in this together” and “isn’t it great that we’re all on this show.” There’s a real sense of camaraderie. They want the best for each other and they’re willing to help each other out.

On Chopped Junior specifically, if one kid finishes early and another is still plating, the first kid will help out his fellow contestant so they can finish. There’s a sense of everyone needs their shot at this, a sense of fair play. Let everyone do their best.

You don’t always see this sportsmanlike behavior in the adult versions of these shows. The adult version comes with the “it’s all about me” attitude. Not willing to help their fellow contestants, not even cheering for them. Now this isn’t true in all cases, of course, but there’s a definite difference. And by airing these shows with kids, those differences become very apparent.

Now, I appreciate good competition as much as the next person. It’s one reason I love tennis. For the most part, you leave everything on the court, then you go to the net and shake hands. You should be appreciative of the competition and appreciative of the talents of the other person across the net.

If you lose a competition, or lose the tennis match, it doesn’t mean you’re not talented, or that this isn’t what you’re supposed to do, it just means you lost that match, that competition. What do you do from here? Learn from it and move on.

You get a feeling that these kids are learning. Learning that they won’t win every time. Learning that not winning means they don’t have talent or this isn’t what they’re supposed to do. And maybe most important, they’ve shared an experience with their fellow competitors and possibly have made lifelong friends.
So, what can we as adults learn from these kids? I think we need to learn to appreciate others around us, learn to appreciate the competition, the ups and downs, and maybe most important, the acceptances and rejections of life and how to move on, gracefully, head held high. Because we did our best despite the outcome. We need to accept responsibility for our own errors, and always try to do our best. We need to realize it’s not all about me.

I want to be appreciative of all the situations, good and bad, and maybe one of the most important things, I don’t ever want to lose my sense of fun!

Amazing what you can learn from kids, if you look around and pay attention.

Being Positive, Even on a Bad Day

I’m feeling like a bit of a louse recently. Whether I can cite the excuse of the holidays, or how busy work is, or whatever, those reasons don’t excuse poor behavior.

I was unintentionally sharp with someone, who didn’t deserve my attitude, and who happened to be on the receiving end of a bad day.

We’re all guilty of snapping at someone who was just in the way of our bad mood. But because we all may understand that doesn’t make it right, and now I feel like a heel.

I’ve done what I can to rectify the situation. But that impression of me and my actions are still out there and still affected this person.

No matter how nice I will be going forward, does this person I treated poorly have a long memory or will my actions always be part of how they treat me going forward?

I can’t take it back.

What lessons can be learned?

First – the golden rule still applies: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. In other words, treat others with kindness. In fact, I love the phrase “kill them with kindness.” If someone is being rude and having a bad day, the best way to diffuse the situation is to stay calm and treat them with kindness.

I’ve found the yelling or matching their level of rudeness only escalates the situation.

Second – the other lesson I’ve learned is to be forgiving. It is true that if you hold a grudge against someone, even if they are in the wrong, you’re the only one who continues to be hurt. You’re not hurting them by holding that grudge and by remaining angry.

We all need to “Let Go and Let God.”

God needs to work through me to make me aware of my actions and how those actions affect others. My thoughts, actions and words can have a positive influence or a negative influence.

When I had that bad day recently and exhibited poor behavior to someone else, I may have hurt them, but I’ve also hurt myself.

The whole conversation would’ve turned out different had I been able to hold my tongue, answered their questions and moved on, instead of lashing out at them.

Taking a deep breath, not having a snap response, especially when it’s not a good day, can make all the difference…not just to someone else, but to myself as well.

To the person to whom I snapped, I hope they forgive me. And I hope I show that same spirit of forgiveness the next time someone else has a bad day and snaps at me.

How do you handle your bad days? What do you say when you do have a bad day and have hurt others?

How do you show a spirit of forgiveness?

I’d love to hear from you so maybe we can all help each other be a positive influence.

A Teachable Spirit

My husband and I were talking over the weekend. We both hit milestone birthdays this year, and that seems to have provoked conversation about our journey in this life.  The events of our crumbling world have also provoked discussions.

No, I don’t have any answers for our nation and world, or for any “mid-life crisis” I may be going through.

What I do know is that no matter what we’re doing in our life, with our job, with our hobbies, and even with friends, church and beyond is that we need to have a teachable spirit.

The older we get, we always need to be willing to learn new things, try new things, and stay open to whatever God has in store for us.

I saw this lesson during an ACFW writing conference a few years ago. I was sitting in a class, and across the aisle from me was a well-known, multi-published author, who was scribbling notes from the instructor as fast as I was!  That image stuck with me, because although this person was multi-published, she never lost her spirit of learning more about her craft.

Whatever your job is, you need to have an open, teachable spirit.  It’s too often that sharing ideas or a new way of doing something will bring out a defensive posture in someone else.

Not all new ways of doing something are the best way, but being open and willing to listen can sometimes lead to an updated idea, or determine that what you’re doing now is indeed the best way, or lead you down a completely new path.

As Christians, we always need to be studying scripture and learning and growing more in our Christian walk.

Having a teachable spirit can open you up to so many new things and take you in a new direction to something exciting and wonderful.

Especially as I grow older, I want to keep experiencing new things or at least be open to new ideas. I never, ever want to stop learning.  It’s a way to keep living this adventurous life.

How about you?  Did opening yourself up to something new lead you in a completely different direction than anticipated? I’d love to hear your stories.