My daughters and I were driving to camp this morning. My youngest daughter was lamenting the fact that certain friends couldn’t attend her birthday party. As she continued to complain, a thought popped into my head. I said, “Hey Maddie, are you focused on the hole or the donut?” The randomness of the question interrupted her thoughts for a moment and she replied, “Um, the hole I think.” I nodded and kept silent, allowing her to consider it for a second. Then I said, “I really like to keep my attention on the donut rather than the hole. When I focus on the hole, I stay hungry for the yummy donut and never get filled. There are a lot of “donuts” about your party, what are some of them?”
The rest of the conversation turned to positives about the party, such as who was coming, the decorations, the film festival we were preparing, and the fun food.
I’m gluten and sugar free so I don’t actually eat donuts, however I enjoy imagining them. I love to fill my imagination with all kinds: cream filled, coconut dusted, chocolate coated, long johns, cake, sprinkle topped, etc. What I have realized is that when I focus on the donut hole (and I don’t mean the little powder sugared donut balls, but the actual hole), then I am missing the entire rest of the donut. The same goes for my thoughts. When I am focused on what I don’t have or getting sucked into a hole of “not enough”, I feel hungry for more, hungry for feeling good, hungry for feeling inspired and fulfilled. When I shift my attention to the donut itself, and all the beautiful yumminess of life, I feel fulfilled, full and happy. It is my choice where I put my attention, both the donut hole and the donut exist depending on how I imagine it.
My daughter got it. I encouraged her and her sister to look for the “donut opportunities” today at camp. They left discussing possible donut thoughts.
You and your child can use the simple question, “Donut hole or donut?” as a reminder in times of complaining or focusing on lack in order to shift back into positive thoughts that feel good.
Encourage your child to look for donut thoughts. Ask each other if you can share donut hole thoughts and donut thoughts at the end of the day. Explain to your child that a donut hole thought is one that doesn’t feel good or that is about something missing or not being enough. Explain further that a donut thought is a yummy, feel good thought. Draw the connection between focusing on the hole and feeling yucky and focusing on the donut and feeling good. Practice coming up with as many donut thoughts as possible. You can even draw them out at the end of the day and place them on a paper plate as reminder donuts for tomorrow. Collect as many yummy thoughts as you can!