Saturday, July 20, 2013


I believe that optimism is a personality trait that you're either born with, or not.  I was lucky enough to spend the past 2 weeks with  my 13 year old niece, Sarah.  Her family is going through a bit of turmoil right now and I thought maybe a change of scenery would help. I invited her to be my teaching assistant during Summer Fun Camp.  I knew she would enjoy herself and learn a lot.  But as it turns out I learned so much from her too.  I knew she was a high quality person, but she's also a born optimist.

Our schedule was pretty hectic.  We'd get up early, teach 3 art classes to kids from kindergarten -4th grade. The kids were great and exhausting!  Every day on the way back to my house Sarah would recount the wonderful and funny things the kids said or did.  Rarely did she criticize.  She said so many nice things about our young students. In the afternoons we would work on our own art projects and watch reruns of Hannah Montana. We ate ice cream, ran errands, and went to the dog park. I was with Sarah every day, never seeing a sullen, sad, teenage girl, only a happy, enthusiastic optimist.

The other day we were walking to the dog park enjoying the cooler evening temperature when Dasher the dog needed to do his business.  Being the responsible dog owner I collected his dooty and tied up the bag. We were continuing our walk when suddenly I tripped on the sidewalk (pretty typical:  a clumsy woman and an old sidewalk).  As I was recovering my balance I threw the bag o' dooty in the air.  Sarah screamed "what happened to the poop?"  Splat, it landed on the sidewalk next to us.  "Good thing it didn't land on our heads, that would have been awful," she said.  And that in a nutshell is how she thinks.  It's ok if you stumble as long as the poop doesn't land on your head!

Having an optimistic outlook creates a positive attitude.  Even when things are rough as long as you look on the bright side of life you'll persevere.  Our "dodging the dooty" experience was an opportunity for us to celebrate our good fortune and made us feel optimistic about other things.  So when  things get bad just remember, at least a bag of poop didn't fall on your head.  And even if it does fall on your head, as long as it doesn't break there's no harm done.

Try this:
Create a comic strip about worst case scenarios or "but what if it did" sentences with positive solutions or outcomes for each.  


  1. What a funny story to make a point! I didn't grow up optimistic, but thankfully I am now! I loved your story! Hope you don't mind that I share it!

  2. Optimism is an amazing trait. Thanks for sharing such an awesome story

  3. Thank you, this just makes you want to be optimistic. Your niece is someone to admire and ,you, too.