We got all kinds of stuff for beginning school at the teacher supply store. Teacher's planner, schoolish room border for our calendar, fun pencils, stickers, a hall pass, and a chores chart.
The chores chart works with a dry-erase marker (not the Sharpie she used when I told her to use the green marker in the drawer. She went to the wrong drawer and marked up her chart in permanent ink. Fortunately, a few squirts of Windex worked it off.) On it is a typical list of chores: make bed, brush teeth, brush hair, bathe, pick up toys ... and be happy.
She checks it off every day. She might not make her bed. Or take a bath. But she remembers, even just for a little while, long enough to mark it down, to be happy. What goes through her mind when she approaches the chart? Is she filled with glee to check off happiness? Is there a special thrill in knowing that she's happy? What is in her heart at that moment?
Be happy, Lanie. When a friend hurts your feelings, find it in yourself to be happy. When someone lets you down, spin the situation and be happy. When you get family food for dinner, be happy. When Erin wants to play with you, be happy. When you're scared, lonely, worried or mad, find a way to turn it around and be happy.
I want you to be a happy kid. And have happy memories. I want you to grow up to be a happy person. A happy wife. A happy mom. A happy whoever-it-is you're supposed to be.