How to turn around a very bad day

Our car on the tow truck

Last weekend, Karen and I did something that we don’t do often.

It was a nice, sunny day, a rarity for Melbourne in Winter, so we spontaneously planned to take the kids to the Royal Botanic Gardens in the city.

We live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, so it’s a one hour drive into the city.  This makes such trips rare for us, especially with three young kids in the back seat.

So, we shared our plans with the kids, got them all excited, and we piled into the car for our little adventure.

As we drove in, Karen, who was driving, noticed that the car didn’t seem quite right.

Then, as we were driving along the freeway, it became obvious to everyone in the car (even the kids) that something was very wrong.

Karen pulled over into the emergency lane and stopped the engine.  Then, despite repeated efforts, it just wouldn’t start.


So, there we were, three quarters of the way to the city, pulled over on the side of a busy freeway, with three increasingly impatient kids in the back on a nice sunny day.

It was becoming a bad day.

We called a tow truck and a taxi and waited for 40 minutes for them both to arrive.  Karen took the taxi with the twins, Madison and Logan, while Hayden and I hitched a ride with the tow truck.

Eventually, about two hours or so after we left home, all excited, we returned to our address, frustrated and over $300 poorer.

It had become a very bad day.

I decided to take the kids for a walk to the nearby shops to overcome their disappointment.

As we strolled, Hayden turned to me and said, “Dad, I’m kind of happy that the car broke down.  I’ve never been in a tow truck before and it was really cool.”

I was taken aback.

I wanted to say to him, “Don’t you realise how inconvenient that was for us?”

Or perhaps, “I could think of better ways to spend $300.”

Or even, “The car isn’t even fixed yet!”

But instead, I was grateful.

Grateful that my wise eight year-old son was able to find the positives in this experience.

So I messed up his hair and responded, “That’s a great way to look at it mate, I’ve never been in a tow truck before either.”

We all have bad days.

Sometimes, we have very bad days.

The best way to deal with it isn’t that complicated and I’m sure that some will feel that it’s too simplistic.

Just find something positive to reflect on.

It could be something funny, quirky, unique, a learning moment or just a perspective that you hadn’t thought of before.

But it’s always there and it can turn around a very bad day in a moment.

Just like Hayden did for me.

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