Little Minutes and Mighty Oceans

“Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. Thus the little minutes, humble though they be, make the mighty ages of eternity.” ~ Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney (1845)

Every Little Minute

There are 1440 minutes in every day. Most adults hope to spend 420 or so of them sleeping, and our kids probably spend between 600 and 720 minutes asleep. Even so, we have about half of those minutes to spend with our kids. That’s a lot of minutes. Here’s the thing, not all of those minutes are good minutes. Toddlers have moodswings and tantrums. Preschoolers need (what seems like) constant attention. 5-year-olds can supply enough drama for an entire high school. And, let’s face it, sometimes our own attitudes are not what we want our kids to see and emulate. We get frustrated about so many things.

Funny thing about angst: one bad attitude begets another bad attitude. When the children are fractious, our calm is challenged and it’s easiest to join them. And everybody knows, “If Mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

Here’s my point: I think we focus on the bad minutes too much. How many minutes does the average toddler temper tantrum take? Maybe 5 if she’s really committed? Little kid drama can be ridiculous, but it takes just a few seconds of silliness to totally swing from sad/angry to happy. Are the minutes spent rereading the same book for the 25th time even bad in the slightest? A few bad minutes–when we respond with our imperfect, or when our kids exhibit their imperfect–can cast their flavor on the whole day, but I don’t think they have to.

What if we gave the good minutes as much weight as we give the bad minutes?

Wouldn’t our cups be full to running over with joy?

If we delight in every good moment the same way we wallow in every bad, will we even have time to wallow?

Probably. We’re not perfect and our children aren’t perfect either. But it seems to me a good place to begin.

I bet if we kept journals for even one day, counting up the good moments and remembering them when we’d like to wallow in the bad, our perspective of our lives as a whole would gain some depth. Maybe, just maybe, that little perspective shift is all we need to turn our “bad” days into the best days.