Do you try to see the bright side or do you dwell on the negative?

Published 9:04 am Saturday, March 21, 2009

Attitude. Positive? Negative? What kind were you raised with? When good things are happening around you, do you look to see if you can find something bad or do you rejoice in what is good? When something bad happens, do you try to see a bright side? Is there something good that can come from the situation or do you dwell on the negative?

When I was growing up, my dad’s health was not good and we were poor, but that was life. My dad had serious heart problems and suffered many heart attacks at a young age. I can remember my mom telling Dad, “Dick, now be sure to tell the doctor how you have been feeling.”

Why did she say that? Because when Dad went to the doctor and was asked how he was, my dad would always answer, “pretty good,” no matter how he was feeling. My dad never complained; he was always pleasant and made the best of the life that had been dealt to him. There were many things he couldn’t do, but he did other things to help my mom, for instance, cooking. Since he had been ill as a child, he learned to help his mother in the house, since he couldn’t do some of the manual labor required for a lot of the outside work.

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When he died at age 53 — yes, he was young — he had lived his life among friends and everyone loved him because he was the kind of guy you could depend on. He loved his family, helped his neighbors and worked hard, even though he didn’t feel good. His mother had raised six children, mostly by herself, (my grandfather died when my dad was 3) and was a hard-working woman with a positive attitude.

My mother, Julie, came from a family of seven children. In her family, her dad did most everything as her mother was ill a lot of the time. So her dad worked. He was an electrician, he cooked and he got the kids to church and where they needed to be. Growing up during the Depression, as soon as the girls were 16 they quit school and got a job to support themselves. My mom was very hard working and never complained as she cared for her mother until her death (her mother died at 62) and then she cared for my dad’s mother until she died at age 80.

My mom was definitely the driving force at our house, as my dad was so laid back, but she was careful to not make my dad feel bad and they made their decisions together. There was no playing one against the other, they were united in their decisions. Although Dad was the one with the soft spot, so if you needed something, he would talk to Mom. We were always taught to do our best. If something was worth doing, it was worth doing well. We faced many challenges, but came through them stronger because of our family, our friends and our faith.

We never thought we got the bad end of the deal because we couldn’t do something. We just worked hard for the things that were important to us and when we achieved a goal the satisfaction of knowing we had earned it was quite pleasing. In today’s world, many tend to want something now and then try to figure out how to pay for it later. That was not true for most, years ago. Today we need to teach our children the worth of saving and working toward an end result. That we don’t need everything right away and we need to set small goals to achieve big goals.

We have many positive things happening in the community and we need to focus on the good and be positive in our thinking and talking with others.

We have many programs and events planned this year at the museum. We are hosting a four-hour AARP defensive driving class on Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cost is $19 and you must pre-register for the class.

The museum will be holding its annual tour guide training on Wednesday, April 15, at 9:30 a.m. Please give us a call or stop by to register for the training. Our number is 373-8003 and we are open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most of our school tours are during the month of May. We encourage you to join us as a guide it can be fun and rewarding.

Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.