My son wanted to roast marshmallows this morning.
On an open fire.
I’ve mentioned that it’s been 100+ degrees for as long as I can remember – and zero rain. We’re living in a state that might as well be a tinderbox. And he wants to have a fire.
Well, I’ve been reading ‘The Happiness Project’ – a book which I have to say is OK, but at least half of my interest in it comes from my amazement over the author’s life. It’s primarily a handbook on happiness punctuated with personal vignettes illustrating how the author puts the rules she proposes to work in her own life.
My amusement comes from rules like ’embrace failure’ which she provides examples for that remind the reader of what a perfect life she has and how much yours sucks. Failure in her life is exemplified by not getting a regular column in The Washington Post or New Yorker or something and only being the #5 most awesome blog in the world.
Examples of failure in most people’s lives are more like,’fired from job and left by spouse / girlfriend / S.O. on same day that you were diagnosed with cancer. – Oh, and I don’t have a nationally syndicated column in the world’s best newspapers either.’
She’s also a bit sad because being beautiful, smart and rich sometimes leaves you with no need to have direction in her life.
Hey – I didn’t mean to pan this book or anything. Actually, there’s a lot of pretty decent advice in there. And most of it is at least putatively grounded in solid research (I admit to being too lazy to look that up myself). In fact, I wouldn’t be making this blog at all if it wasn’t for her suggestion to do it.
But, why am I talking about this book at all? Because the author also references another work on parenting that I thought was interesting. The advice she passes along can be boiled down to – ‘Take it easy. Stop saying NO to everything and get behind your child’s ideas rather than obstructing them.’ That sounds obvious, but how many of us actually do that? It’s so much more likely that we say, ‘No, we’re not doing that’ than, ‘well, why not start a campfire and roast marshmallows in the scorching heat while risking starting a wildfire that could engulf the entire midwest?’
And you know what? It was fun. It wasn’t that hot early in the morning. And keeping a bucket of water next to the fire made me feel much more in control of the situation and at least somewhat ameliorated the risk of catastrophe.
All in all, being amore agreeable person helped us both enjoy our day a little more.