According to the CDC, the flu season is still going strong. “Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February,” but “it can continue to occur as late as May.” If influenza doesn’t phase you because you got that recommended shot back in October, consider the measles epidemics that are cropping up around our nation.
“No worries,” you say. You had that inoculation years ago.
Good for you. You can rest reassured that you won’t catch anything severe or give anything to someone else. Or can you? What about your attitude? Is it something others should avoid?
When I sit down and read the paper or watch the news, I notice that our country, our culture, our world is ripe with negativity. Negativity bombards us not just from the talking heads on TV, but in our music, video games, and from people in our lives. It’s like a rampant virus coursing across the globe. But there is a solution, a vaccine if you wish—an attitude of gratitude.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of listening to a sermon by Rev. Eugene Coplin of Project L.E.E., Inc. (Learning & Earning Experiences). The mission of Project L.E.E. is to make students aware that personal attitudes and decision-making largely determine success or failure in life. The project has made a strong difference in the lives of many students.
During his sermon, Rev. Coplin spoke about having this “attitude of gratitude” that would help youth improve their paths in life. He said, “Faith comes from hearing.” What we were hearing was the negativity from others, but most importantly from ourselves. He said we need to stop thinking and living like we expect bad things to happen to ourselves. We need to “live in expectation and anticipation of His manifestation.” In other words, we need to recognize the good that God put in each one of us.
It’s no wonder that there is such a high rate of suicide when all we hear are deprecating words. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a cheerleading squad to pep us up every once in a while? Well, we do, but we forget that we need to be that head cheerleader. We have to be the loudest voice in the crowd cheering us on to success. We are the ones that have to say, “Ready? OK.”
We may live in hard times, but we don’t need to let those hard times live in us. We need to stop walking around expecting to be triggered and start thinking that we have a shot in life. Rev. Coplin suggests power words of life to keep us motivated. Some examples are “I’m not a whiner. I’m a Winner!” “I’m not a mess. I’m a Success!” Another one is, “I am not ordinary. I am Extraordinary!”
Just like adults need motivational speakers every so often, so do kids. We need to encourage them, support them, and teach them the skills to do that very thing for themselves. We need to have an attitude of gratitude and have it be an attitude worth catching.