Isn’t it amazing how your kids can completely change the way you look at things, without even meaning to, how their wide-eyed wonder at the most mundane item can alter your perception? Yesterday, while we were walking along the street, Sausage and I walked past a particularly unkempt garden outside a block of flats. Most people would turn their nose up at the laziness of the council or the impact that the garden had on the look of the rest of the street. Most adult people. My daughter exclaimed, with genuine delight, “Mummy, look at all of those fluffy flowers! Aren’t they beautiful?“. Obviously the flowers in question were dandelion clock, which the majority of people would consider a weed and a pest, but my daughter looked at them with her eyes and her heart, unaffected by social convention, and found them beautiful. That, right there, is the answer to world peace, I’m sure of it.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to look at things in the same way. It’s like therapy. Take the time to see the beauty in things and the world really will start to look like a better place. Or at least, that’s the theory. It’s like that thing where they say if you force yourself to smile, even if you don’t mean it, it releases certain hormones and will eventually actually make you feel genuinely happy. If I take the time to view things through the eyes of my daughter, the world will seem like a different place. Instead of moaning about the rain, look at the beautiful shapes in the clouds, or the way the rain makes everything look shiny and new. Instead of being cross when the foxes rip the bin bags up and I have to pick up the semi-rotting detritus, think about the fact that the fox and maybe some fox babies managed to have a lovely dinner and won’t go hungry tonight.

And I’ve found that if I FORCE myself to do it, like stand in front of a pile of rubbish and make myself think of something nice to say about it, it starts to come more naturally at other times. Maybe it’s like cognitive behavioural therapy, I’m kind of retraining my brain, but if you can walk along the street and have ten positive thoughts rather than 15 negative ones, surely that would make a vast difference to your day and your mood? And in turn, an upturn in your mood might mean you don’t snap at your kid for something which is quite minor, or you might smile at a stranger in the street and make them realise that neighbourliness and community spirit isn’t dead. All quite minor things that could have a cumulative effect and make the world a better place.

And it all started with fluffy flowers.