Attitude is everything

Jan 10, 2013 By Betty Starks Case

We're better when we tune in to our positives

I used to approach the desk of then-editor Dave Perry with, "Dave, I've been thinking."

In feigned alarm, Dave would wipe his forehead and ask, with brows arched high, "Yes?"

So here it is: A newspaper column about communication and attitude. And I wonder, might New Year 2013, like marriage, become just what we decide to make it?

My natural tendency and choice is to take the high road, to see the good in this world and its people, to give everyone a fair chance to be the most they can or wish to be, and to share the wisdom of others in respectful discussion.

A recent magazine article suggests readers sometimes tire of a positive view. It's their choice, of course. But I learned long ago that "negative" has no future. It does offer room for complaint and criticism. That can lead to fear and insecurity. The positive, to me, opens doors.

Whether we realize it or not, we do make choices on how we think and behave.

So, you ask, don't we make New Year's resolutions at our house?

We don't. What we do all year long is try to recognize when we err, go to a quiet place, and tune in to our more positive selves. That simple act puts us back on track. And we do better.

The calendar may have left Thanksgiving behind, but in 2013, I choose to continue to be grateful -- first, for the manly man who has been my husband for many years, that young groom who wisely observed that our marriage would be just what we make it.

And though he now says with mischief filled eyes, "Must have heard that in a movie," he never forgot the truth of it. Nor did I.

In my gratitude mode, our thoughtful son and daughter-in-law rank near the top. They moved away, and we miss them. But their generosity and caring continues to warm us in frequent contact.

Then there are loving family members who never forget us, and thoughtful next-door neighbors who, among other things, harbor a faithful snow angel to plow our drive.

In this new year, I feel most fortunate to be a citizen of this great country where I've never lived in fear, where good men such as my father, three brothers, friends, and the son of neighbor-next-door have served or serve in the military, to name only a few close to me. The list goes on.

I'm grateful to The Ranger for this column's more than 25-year existence, shared by faithful readers in numbers beyond my imagination. The years tell me that positive thoughts, ideas and fun experiences can offer ripples to ride, or simply a few minutes' entertainment.

The strength of a column is determined by its readership. I'm often surprised and pleased to learn from reader response that a heart was warmed, youth encouraged, or simply an idea enjoyed. That's the "icing on the cake," so to speak. Or, as my loved friend who often mixed her metaphors said, "just gravy in my lap!"

I deeply appreciate reader response. I learn from you.

When a reader apparently felt threatened by my view -- which I cannot even imagine, many confident others rallied in approval of my perspective.

The column appears on the Opinion page.

It carries no power to infringe on anyone's rights. And I have no desire to do so.

I always remember my Dad's suggestion that, "You can listen to another's view. You might learn something. But remember, you can go home and do as you please." Good advice.

When I began the column you are now reading, I picked up a magazine to see if it held a thought or message I might wish to consider.

Surprise! The pages fell open to stories of people who observed simple, everyday events in their lives as gifts to be thankful for.

These people were not wealthy in the monetary sense. But they said they felt they were in all the ways that matter.

The inclination to live this way is defined as hopeful, inspiring, encouraging, clear, sound, confident, secure, undoubting.

Positive thinking?

The right to choose belongs to each of us.

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