When you close your eyes and think of that perfect day, do you see a relaxing spa or a day on some tropical beach. Or are you like me and envision a helicopter dropping you on top of a majestic Alaskan mountain peak to ski fresh powder?
I often ask my counseling clients this question and I’ve never heard the following, “I would love to do three loads of stinky laundry, wipe kids bums, work eight long hours and making dinner for a troop of little people that don’t even want to eat it. None of us dream about these things as our perfect, most blissful day, but they may indeed be what our most purposeful and joyful experiences are made of.
In the movie “Groundhog Day,” living the same day over and over again is just what happens to Bill Murry’s character. He plays the most hilariously miserable man. At the beginning of the movie, Murry’s character “Phil” (like the groundhog), is plunged into the monotony of the same tedious, torturous events, day after day. Every morning he is greeted by the same annoying Punxsutawney PA. radio DJ, “Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.”
After reliving this terrible day several times Phil complains, “I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas… *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get *that* day over, and over, and over…”
Sometimes our days as parents can feel like we’re living the same day over and over again. Do we ever wish, like Phil, that we were living a different day, a more relaxing, exciting or adventurous day?
But… Phil’s wishing away his day didn’t make any difference. Every morning he would hear the same DJ on the radio and feel the same emptiness he felt the “previous day.” Throughout the movie, the actual events of Phil’s day never changed, but his experience did.
What made the difference?
What was it that changed his experience?
Something happens to Phil toward the end of the movie. He stops worrying about what happens to him and starts thinking about making life happen. He stops focusing on the negative and dares to see the positive. He stops demanding the world cater to him and starts to serve the world. He stops expecting obstacles to happiness and starts anticipating opportunities. He stops wallowing in his personal stagnation and starts pursuing interests and growth.
The difference wasn’t found in the activities or events of the same day, it was found in his perception and positive participation in it.
So, Why should I care?
So, what is the take away for me? The perfect day will never be found in wishing away the seemingly tedious events and tasks of our own personal “groundhog days.” The perfect day is found when we give ourselves, wholeheartedly to each day. Joseph B. Worthlin’s mother repeated to him the following short mantra throughout his life. She said, “Come what may… And love it!”
Approach each day with a fresh, optimistic view and see it for the gift it is! Learn to grow with each opportunity and serve the ones you love.
Question: What’s your favorite part of the movie Groundhog Day and how might it apply to your parenting?
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