What makes me sad?

Last night at dinner, we ended our meal with a few minutes of “Spin the Spoon” game, an iPhone game from Focus on the Family, where you spin the virtual spoon and get a random question to answer. One question that I got was: “What is something that makes you sad, and why?” It didn’t take long for me to answer that one. Without much thought I said, “I am sad when my kids are sad.”

They both looked at me and asked, “Mom, you mean when we whine, or when we’re grumpy?” They got it.

The next day, I thought more about that question, and realized that if it were them and was answering that question, they probably would have said exactly the same thing, that it makes them sad when I am sad. I then stopped to think about all the times when I let my emotions and grumpiness get the better of me and affect their innocent cheerful spirits. I wondered about the times when I was the reason for their sadness and lack of happiness.

When I am around friends, colleagues or other relatives besides my immediate family, I am quick to put on a smile, and actually pretty good at hiding inner feelings at inappropriate times. But when it comes to home life, with my kids or husband around, how often do I let it all out, on my face or in the words I say, or the way I speak harshly and impatiently.

How much do we want the best for our children, but how hard are we willing to work at it? How much do we want them to be happy, but then let our own unhappiness rule our day, in the things we do or say, which then affects them and may even a cause for bringing on their grumpiness at times? I’ve actually come to realize that when I have good days, so do my kids (most of the time). When I have bad days, their days end up grumpy as well. I’ve just learned an important lesson from our “Spin the Spoon” game.