The other day, I caught myself grumbling about my life. My concerns were legitimate, but as I listened to my litany of woes, I realized that I was only making the situation worse by focusing on the negative. I remembered a study I came across recently that concluded that the single most important element to getting and staying happy is having an “attitude of gratitude.” Even as you work through life’s inevitable challenges, remember to be thankful for the things that bring you joy. I resolved to keep a gratitude journal, and every night I try to write down three things. Sometimes the list includes items as small as the ice cream truck that stopped at the park just as my son and I needed a sugar boost; other items have been more important, such as the fact that a close relative remains free of cancer after prostate surgery a few years ago.
Topping my gratitude list as we enter the final stretches of this all-important election season are President Barack Obama and the beautiful example of a strong Black family that he, Michelle, Malia and Sasha offer. I watched the president’s speech at the Democratic National Convention with my 6-year-old son, Max, who remained mesmerized the entire time. “There are so many people listening to him, Mommy,” he remarked at one point. The fact that I was able to point to a Black man and tell my Black son, “That’s because he’s the most powerful man in the whole world,” brought tears to my eyes. Then Max, who got even more watchful every time Michelle and the girls appeared onscreen, asked me: “Why do they call the mom the first lady?” “Because she is the most important lady in the entire country,” I replied. “Oh,” Max nodded sagely as I beamed at the television for providing me with that wonderful teaching moment.
My son will grow up with the image of President Obama as the ultimate representation of power. He will remember Malia and Sasha as the tall pretty girls standing next to their mom, all comprising the most important family in the country. In addition to the fact that I believe in President Obama’s values, policies, intelligence and now, experience, I will vote for him because I want to have four more years during which my son sees someone who looks like him leading this country and the world.
I am so very grateful for the path that President Obama and his family have paved. Here’s to a second term in the White House! E-mail me or hit me up on Twitter to tell me what you are grateful for.