Editor's Note: Find What You're Looking For

Amanda Collins Bernier
Baystateparent Magazine
Color photo of a heart-shaped stone sitting amongst other rocks on the beach.

Years ago, before my son was even a thought in my head and back when my husband and I were just dating, we were hiking along a wooded trail when we stumbled upon a big, grey, heart-shaped rock.

It was so perfectly shaped and propped right in the middle path that it seemed like a sign of some sort, especially to two new lovebirds. I just had to bring it home.

Not long after, were out again when I looked down and saw another heart rock at my feet. This one was smaller and while it was a little rougher, it was a perfect heart nonetheless. Again, I picked it up and took it home.

Over the years, we’d find them everywhere – from the climb to the top of Mount Washington to a walk through the grocery store parking lot. By the time we were married, we had a collection of these rocks. Big, small, speckled, striped; a whole menagerie of hearts, each with its own little story.

I recently came across the box I stored them all in, dusty and heavy and buried beneath baby toys and outgrown onesies in my basement. When I opened it up, my 2-year-old was thrilled. “Wow! ROCKS!” he squealed.

I realized it had been quite a long time since I’d added anything to that collection that was once so special to me. It’s been a while since I’ve come across any heart-shaped rocks.

And there’s the lesson: I haven’t found any because I stopped looking.

In life – when it comes to rock collections or anything else – we tend to find what we are looking for.

Look for the good, and you’ll find it. Look for the bad, and you’ll find that, too.

It took a box of rocks to remind me of this simple, but powerful, outlook. I hope I can instill in my son this way of looking at the world.

Psychologists say that optimism is both a personality trait and a product of our environment, and that from an early age, children pick up on the emotional vibes in their homes. As parents, our view of the world communicates itself to our children daily. If we want them to see the good, we have to remember to see it for ourselves.

So, as a mom, and in general, I'm working on shifting my focus, as much as I can, to the positive, and looking everyday for things to be thankful for.

With this month kicking off the season of giving and thanks, BayState Parent has ideas to help you and your kids look for the good, too. In our November issue, find tips on starting a family gratitude practice, and 10 local ways you can volunteer with your kids.

Here’s hoping you find what you’re looking for!