Almost a year ago, I chose my word for 2011 and the word I picked was "choice." So often we feel trapped in circumstances and I wanted to remind myself that I could choose to change my circumstances - or at least choose how I was going to deal with them.
Last week I had a young student come into the library and announce to me that she wouldn't be smiling because she was just too sad. After a little conversation I found out her parents were going to be travelling and she was already missing them, before they had even left.
As class went on, I caught her starting to laugh at a book I was reading. When I pointed it out to her, she went back to frowning and didn't change her expression for the rest of the class.
Her reaction is developmentally reasonable, considering her age. But I realized that I could easily fall into the same pattern. I look back at 2011 and see all the sadness and trials and grief. Sometimes I feel like I should be more serious because of the serious sort of year it has been. But there have been plenty of joys and gifts this year, too.
I get to choose what to focus on. So do you.
Choose joy this holiday season.