Commentary: Let’s remember to take time and celebrate life’s little joys

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Jodi Rall, Columnist

Jodi Rall is a Brentwood resident and writer. 

A few weeks ago, I heard a story that was too good not to share. Especially with the negativity and fear surrounding many of our lives right now.

On Super Tuesday, a father brought his son along to a voting location. The child, roughly 3 years old, was “excited to vote.” The volunteer helped him run his paper through, and when the child was finished, he threw his arms up in the air victoriously and yelled for all to hear, “I did it!”

Then, because he wanted everyone to share his excitement, he ran around the room shouting, “I did it,” repeatedly.

I’ve imagined this story and shared with a few girlfriends who happen to be pre-school teachers, because of how I wish we would all experience such joy.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight.”

As adults, do we fully appreciate how blessed we are? Success is much more than how much we earn at a job. It’s about feeling accomplished or, as parents, seeing our children navigate life successfully.

When I graduated from college, I chose a career that didn’t really make use of my degree. Instead, I was lured into sales, where the money was much better than in journalism.

Eventually, with three, then four children at home, I left the industry to focus on my family. It was a dear friend who approached me about writing a column for a publication, kind of a tongue-in-cheek look at parenting.

My inner 3-year-old was shouting “I did it” because returning to writing gave me joy. I won’t ever earn what I did in my sales career, but the satisfaction of writing truly delights me.

My point is this: Find your joy. Maybe it’s not your career. You may have a hobby, or you’ve been dreaming of trying something new.

With all the negativity in the world, finding something that gives us joy is more important than ever.

I love that children, in their innocence, can delight in something small, and yet you would think it was the biggest accomplishment ever. That’s the power of saying “I did it!”

Here’s a true story. When my son was in middle school, he played football, baseball and basketball. Sports was where he gained his confidence, and it also kept him busy and out of trouble.

We read Sports Illustrated at night, as that was about the only way that I could get this child to read. From an early age, all my children were taught to be dreamers. I wanted them to be unique and find their passion — not mine or their father’s.

My son looked up at me with his big, brown eyes one night while reading and said, “Momma, it’s going to be a hard day for you when I have to choose between the NBA and the NFL.”

Remember, parents: Words can bless or bleed.

My reply? “Yes, son, it will be. I know you will follow your heart and your passion no matter what you decide. I believe in you.”

He has such joy and pride in himself. By the way, I didn’t make false promises, and he would have to learn the reality that this wouldn’t come to fruition, but it needed to be on his own time.

My two cents: I see a lot of parents push their children into something they really don’t love doing. It sets the stage for a life missing out on the joy of doing something they love.

Today, after you read this, maybe silently say to yourself “I did it!” Think about the innocence of the little boy and embrace yourself with positive affirmation. Take a moment to find something to be joyful about.

Jodi Rall is a Brentwood resident and writer. 

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