Does anybody REALLY know what time it is?

7:30 a.m. this morning: buzz, buzz, buzz. I hit the button on the alarm and it stopped. Well, I thought, I feel pretty good! That extra hour of sleep really makes a difference!

Quick back story: my son, Dan, has been sick with the flu for 5 days. Last night he woke us up three times for various reasons, one of which was that he still has a 99.7 fever and couldn’t go to school today. That is when I reset my alarm from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.

I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and stretched, looking back at my husband as I did so. Still asleep. My eyes rested momentarily on the alarm clock on his side of the bed. It said 6:30 a.m. Huh. Well, I thought, I wonder how that happened? I made a mental note to tell him when he got up that his clock was wrong.

I slid my feet into my slippers and went into the kitchen, pressed the button on the coffee maker, then went to get a towel for my shower. The bunnies simultaneously popped their heads out of their cage, noses twitching: “Food? Huh? Food? Huh? Food?” I petted their fuzzy little heads and then decided to feed them before showering. (I mean, heaven forbid they should wait an extra half hour, right?)

I went back to the kitchen and retrieved their salad makings from the fridge. As I rinsed the lettuce, my eyes glanced at the oven clock. 6:35 a.m. I blinked. Wait. What? Slowly, very slowly, it dawned on me. It was MY clock that was incorrect. It wasn’t 7:30 at all, it was 6:30. I hadn’t actually had an extra hour of sleep, I just thought I had.

Should I go back to bed for an hour, I wondered? No, actually, I felt pretty good. Better than pretty good, I felt terrific, as though I’d had a long, uninterrupted night of sleep.

Isn’t it interesting how our thoughts influence our feelings? Today’s experience was a stark reminder of this fact: something I actually felt in my own body. Often, though, we aren’t reminded because sometimes the thoughts we have influence our feelings about another person which, in turn, affect them rather than us. This happens frequently with our children.

We think, “Ugh, she’s procrastinating again;” we feel frustrated or worried that she won’t finish her homework; we badger her about getting it done. Unbeknown to us, however, she HAS been working on it. In fact, she was almost finished when we walked in which just happened to be while she was on Facebook chatting. Now she feels resentful, distrusted and, in an act of defiance, deliberately puts her homework aside.

At this point, instead of recognizing how our thoughts influenced a chain of events like I realized that thinking it was 7:30 instead of 6:30 made me feel more energetic, all we see is the aftermath – she didn’t finish her homework. This end result seems to justify our initial thought that she’s a procrastinator and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

What if, when we looked at our children, we saw 7:30 a.m. instead of 6:30? What if the glass was half-full instead of half-empty? What if we gave them the benefit of the doubt, at least some of the time?

What a difference it would make! In the way we feel about them and, more importantly, in the way they feel about themselves: “Mom and Dad trust me.” “I’m a good student.” “I work hard.” “I know how to manage my time.” Their feelings about themselves would, in turn, energize them. They would become more trustworthy, better students, harder workers, better managers of their time because THEY would start seeing 7:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m.

Let’s see if we can be more conscious this week: of our thoughts and feelings, of the way we view our children. Let’s see if we can deliberately shift our perspective. It doesn’t have to be by a lot. An hour should do it.