Last night, a friend’s Facebook post got me thinking about a small saying I’ve told my daughter for many years. It started as a way to help her with those three-nager tantrums, but we still talk about it when things get tough.

Today, I realized maybe this saying isn’t so small.

After a rough day, a meltdown, or a tantrum over a splattered scoop of strawberry ice cream, I take my daughter’s hands and remind her that she has an amazing superpower: at any moment, she can choose to change.

Change what?

Her actions
Her words
Her behavior
Her opinions

Change doesn’t need a movie montage or literary catharsis. It doesn’t require bullet journals or motivational TED talks. It doesn’t always begin with a traumatic event or a life-changing win.

Change, I tell my daughter, can happen at any moment, even after you’ve said some big bad stuff or done some big bad things. That’s okay. You don’t have to keep going. You don’t even have to wait for the next day. You can choose to change right now. You can choose to change:

In the middle of an action
In the middle of a sentence
In the middle of a word

I don’t know why some of my friends and family are still defending ideas and politicians that are so obviously evil. But I hope they know they have my daughter’s superpower too. At any moment, they can choose to change.

Photo by Todd Rhines on Unsplash • open-palmed hand reaching toward the sun rising on the horizion
Photo by Todd Rhines on Unsplash • open-palmed hand reaching toward the sun rising on the horizion

No matter what a person has said or done or believed in the past, even if that “past” is only one Facebook post ago, one comment ago, or one thought ago, they can choose to change right now.

And I will be waiting with open arms when they do, just as I did for my daughter when, in the middle of a level-ten meltdown in the foyer of an overcrowded ice cream parlor, she stopped screaming, wiped her tears, and said,

“I’m done yelling now, and I’m sorry. Can I have a hug?”

Writer, Artist, Taco Enthusiast & Aspiring Cat Lady