I have a teenage son. He’s thirteen to be exact and a combination of belligerent, obnoxious, and omniscient, topped with a great big dollop of spoiled. As an infant, I loved him too much. As a child, I wanted too much for him. As a pre-teen, I gave him too much and now as a teenager, he expects too much.
On a good day, he arrives home from school happy, eager to see his mother and brother. We don’t have many good days. Monday was a little worse than typical. And after a slightly worse than typical exchange of words and actions, I had trouble finding 5 things for which to be grateful.
After he stomped up the stairs to his room, he yelled back down to me,” CAN I SHAVE?”
“You’re asking for permission to shave?!?” I yelled back up to him.
“YES! I wouldn’t want to do anything without asking for approval.”
Taking a deep breath…
“Yes. You may shave,” I responded.
The next morning while driving Teenage Mutant Son to school, I noticed his whiskered chin and stubbly face, and so I said, “I thought you were going to shave last night?”
“Yeah...well,” responding with a half-crooked smile, “I didn't have time. I was too busy having a meltdown.”
I smiled. I felt grateful that we could have a bad day but then get over it; that our anger and frustration with one another had a finite end.
And upon further reflection, I realized I am blessed in countless ways that I take for granted every day. That even when I am having a bad day, I need to acknowledge: I am never hungry, cold, without shelter or unclothed.
I realized I too am spoiled. My yogic path is forcing me to examine myself and take stock in who I am versus who I want to be. Who I want to be is someone who appreciates every day and what has been given to me, even if it is nothing more than the air I breathe.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha