Remember when the best days of your life were filled with simple things–when things like catching a butterfly, chasing a lightning bug, being hugged or tickled by someone you loved, reading a good book, running through the sprinklers, or having a water gun fight were the center of your universe?
Whatever your childhood looked like, what were the little things that could make your day? Was it a smile, a hug, or a moment of fun? Or was it something else altogether?
For the past two weeks, my kids have been bouncing off the walls about the fact that they were getting bunk beds. In fact, just minutes after hearing we might get the beds, the two had already chosen bunks for themselves. After that, they just got more excited by the day. Every day they asked repeatedly when we were going to get the bunk beds and when they were going to sleep in them for the first time.
So it goes without saying that when we finally picked the beds up and brought them home, the kids were ecstatic. Later, while laying on the top bunk, my daughter gave a contented sigh and said, “This is the best of day of my life!”
What’s even more interesting though, is the specific things that make their days seem so great. It’s not the big things we would think of, but little things that cause children to have the best days of their lives. Things like a fresh chocolate chip cookie with a glass of milk; a few moments spent curled up on the couch, snuggling up with a good book; a hug just before bedtime; seeing a real, live fish for the first time; riding a bike without training wheels for the first time; getting a puppy; or any of a hundred other little things.
But what about us? What causes you or me to have the “best day of our life”?
It’s the little things (and the feelings behind them) that make children’s lives magical, and lead them from one “best day of my life” moment to the next.
Couldn’t developing this tendency to see and celebrate the little joys in our lives be healthy for us as well? Couldn’t we learn to see the world through the eyes of a child again–focusing on what we have instead what we lack?
Look at your own life through the eyes of a child. What do you have to be grateful for? What one thing would cause you to have a “best day of my life” moment today, if you were a child again?
This past week I watched a cute, little nine-month-old boy, sitting in church with his parents on the front row. Suddenly, right in the middle of the quiet church meeting, he made a noise that I had never heard before. Smiling as wide as he could, he loudly sucked in air while squealing at the same time, resulting in a sound like a jet engine stuck in reverse. The noise definitely got my attention the first time he did it, but what kept my attention (and everyone else’s in the room) was the expression on his face. He was elated. Each time he made that noise again, he laughed and chuckled more loudly. He was learning something new, and he was enthralled by it.
As I looked around the room, every person I saw was smiling deeply, and looked to be thinking back on their own life or their own experiences as a parent. Afterward, no one had anything but good things to say about that boy and his innocent, disruptive noise from the front row. I think everyone in that room could remember feeling just like that little boy once before. Seeing him so pleased with himself as he learned something new was a beautiful moment.
But why do moments like that have to stop when we grow up? Why can’t they continue?
Well, they can and they will. All we need to do is learn to re-apply the principle that causes such moments in our lives.
Having more “best day of my life” moments simply requires you to have a grateful heart. You must see what you have, not what you lack. You must appreciate the moments that exist in your life, and ignore the ones that don’t. In short, you must cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the biggest key to an enjoyable and fulfilling life.
What are you grateful for today? What moments today have reminded you–or could remind you, if you just gave it a little thought–of the “best day of my life” moments from your past and childhood?
As I write this article, my daughter runs past me, pausing to tickle me. Then she runs away, squealing in delight as I try to catch and tickle her in return. And though it distracts from my writing, I am reminded that this is one of the moments for which I must be grateful. Instead of seeing a distraction in my daughter, shouldn’t I see how loved I am in her eyes, and the way she wants to be near me–and loved by me in return? Shouldn’t I see an angel that I am blessed to help raise, care for, and love? That moment made my day, and became a “best day of my life’ moment to cherish for the rest of my life.
I want to strive to see the moments in my life that should make this day and every other “the best day of my life”.
What about you? What moments have you already missed because you’ve been too busy, too distracted, or too focused on what you lack? What moments could you rediscover as “best day of my life’ moments in your own life?
May you have a ‘this is the best day of my life’ moment today, and every day hereafter…