Written by: April Vargo
I have been in the slow process of cleaning out our basement, which has turned into a giant storage unit of sorts. In all of the chaos I came across a box with all of our wedding memories. I insisted on saving everything, thinking that these items would always be so important and I would remember each detail every time I came across our memories.
Truth be told, this one of the first times I opened the box in a little over eight years. When I looked through the contents I had to laugh. Some of the items I thought were so important at the time, I couldn't remember why I kept them. Something did catch me by surprise, an item I didn't even think I kept, our Pre-Cana workbook.
Pre-Cana was a super positive experience for my husband and I. Neither one of us was super excited about the day when it was approaching, as neither one of us had ever heard anyone say anything good about it. Most of what we heard was that it was a giant waste of time.
For some reason we had a great group and leaders. Jason and I really enjoyed the day and now I'm so happy I have items to reflect back on.
It's interesting to read what we thought about each other at the time and what we thought our life would be like in the future. The part of the workbook that really stuck out to me was where we had to list three different people who had made a big influence on our lives. Both of us listed each other as one of our influential people. Jason's comments about me really hit home, he said, "April has helped to prove that no matter what happens in life, life is overall good."
I think that's such a powerful sentiment, "life is overall good." Life is good, it's a blessing, and an amazing adventure - if you're willing to take it.
I've always believed in the idea of treating others the way you want to be treated, and what you put out there comes back to you. If you treat people well, and try to do good, you will get the same in return. Opportunities will become available to you and you'll be surrounded by some pretty fantastic people.
With the arrival of our daughter I've been doing a lot of reflecting. What do I want her to learn from me? What qualities do I want her to emulate, and which ones would I rather she ignore? What kind of person is she going to be? How can I shape her into the person she wants to be?
I read somewhere that the first three years of a child's life are some of the most important years developmentally. This is where they learn affection, confidence, and how to form relationships. If they feel like they are safe, protected, and cared for, they will have a tendency to be willing to take risks, be independent, and be able to form meaningful, positive relationships.
When you think about it, it's absolutely mind boggling that three short years can create such a huge foundation for the rest of someone's life.
I've realized the most important things I can instill in our daughter is self-confidence and positivity. If she is confident in who she is, she can do anything. If she's armed with a positive attitude to boot, she'll be more inclined to succeed and be happy in life.
Being comfortable in your own skin and going after what you want is so important. I realize that these are qualities that I instill in my students on a weekly basis. The concept of "I can" will get you anywhere you want to go.
I've always loved the quote from Henry Ford, "Whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're right." As individuals we are all in control of our own lives and destinies. Things won't always go your way and sometimes you'll fall, you'll fail, you'll get hurt. However, the failing and the hurt are part of the journey. How you respond to situations as they arise are incredibly important. Do you crumble, blame others, become negative and hateful, or do you dust yourself off, give yourself a pep talk, put on that mascara and go kick some ass?
Life hasn't always gone the way I thought it would, and Jason and I have definitely had our obstacles to overcome. However, we've always done it together, as a team. Now 8 1/2 years later, one dog, and one child we are definitely living that life we dreamed about in that Pre-Cana class. The sentiment that life is overall good, has always been a driving force in our house.
The fact that I have somehow embodied and portrayed that idea throughout my life is something I hold dear and take a great deal of pride in. Lately, I've been receiving calls and messages from friends, family, and students asking for advice. I've been asked to help with confidence, how to deal with a negative person or situation, how to advance their careers, and how to help others. I love these kind of conversations and this kind of work, because I'm not only able to help someone and give advice, but I'm also arming them to go do the same.
Positivity is contagious, once it starts to spread people are able to live their best lives and give back to those around them. In our house there's a lot of love, support, and happiness. Baby giggles, smiles, and snuggles are a daily occurrence. Every time Maizy laughs or smiles, I think, we're doing something right!
As we start getting into the holidays (just a little over a month away) I hope your homes are filled with happiness, love and laughter.