Brad was Sad
Did Brad’s dad make him sad? Brad thought he had…until his dog, Plaid, proved he could choose his outlook & feel glad.
Kids learn best through stories. Empower your child to own their feelings with this beautifully illustrated picture book by award-winning author, M.C. Goldrick.
Brad’s dog Plaid shows him how to feel and deal with emotions. Though Brad is having a bad day, Plaid shows him that it’s in his power to choose his perspective and his feelings.
By award-winning Kid-Lit Author M.C. Goldrick
A comment I’ve repeatedly heard in response to my book, Brad was Sad, is that it contains a lesson that adults could stand to learn as well. How to own your emotions.
We all know people who blame others for how they are feeling. Maybe, we are those people.
Maybe when it’s a grey, drizzly day we blame the weather for our lack of get up and go.
Maybe when our boss is irritable we blame them for our crankiness.
Maybe when our kids don’t listen we blame our nagging on their lack of response.
Do you see yourself in this at all? No? Well then, you’re probably lying. Tell the truth!
We all do it sometimes.
I admit that I do. But not often. And when I do, I catch myself quickly and course correct.
I know I can do better. So I do.
I invite you to do this too. Course correct as you go.
If you catch yourself playing the blame game, don’t add extra blame beating yourself up about it either. Be kind to yourself. No blame and no shame. Just choose again.
When we blame others, we are giving away our inherent responsibility for our hearts and minds.
These are our hearts. Our minds. We’re the ones living in our bodies. Not them.
What they choose to say, think, or do can land in our awareness. We can see them. Hear them. Read their criticisms. But what we choose to feel in response is all ours. There is a freedom in that knowledge.
It is assumed that we adults should know better. That this is something that we should have learned by now. But who was supposed to have taught us this? Our parents? Who quite often modelled conditional affection? Is this really something taught to most children?
Our cultural narrative is that we are responsible for the happiness of others and that we need external validation in order to feel good.
Most parents will teach their children not to hurt other people’s feelings. Their intentions are good. We should be kind. It is important to be empathetic to the emotions of others and to take their feelings into consideration.
However, this is based upon a faulty premise. The belief that someone else can make you feel something. That is an impossibility. They technically can’t.
No one can make anyone else feel anything. The emotions we feel we are fully in the domain of the individual.
People can certainly act displeasingly, but we are not bound to respond in a certain way.
There is always choice.
We may not choose what happens but we do choose how we respond. It may not come naturally. We might have to make the extra effort, but like anything, the more you do something the easier it becomes.
When we teach our children that they have autonomy over their hearts and minds we gift them. The gift of knowing they have the power to choose their outlook. And our outlooks are everything.
Pessimists and optimists live in very different worlds, this extends far beyond half full or empty glasses. Everything, every experience, is coloured by the lens through which we view it.
Imagine a generation of children growing up to be adults who own their emotions and are empathetic to those around them.
Instead of waiting for someone to make them happy, they just are happy.
Instead of yearning for the latest gadget or bobble to fill the void, there is no void to fill.
They fill their own cups.
How do we teach this?
We teach by example. Books like mine help, but the best way to teach children, and adults to own their emotions is by modelling, by living it.
We can show kids that we are feeling an initial reaction and then selectively choosing our response. We can say I don’t like that. I feel upset but I’m choosing to relax and look for a solution.
So the next time you wake up to grey skies, a snappy boss, and kids with selective hearing, feel however it makes you feel. But then once you’ve felt the emotion, make a choice.
It could be to be sad or mad, there’s no need to fake glad.
Just know that the choice is yours. You have the power to choose.
As Glinda, the Good Witch says in the Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”
About the author
Award-winning author & mother of two, M.C. Goldrick sees feelings as our first language. Through her books she helps us identify and own our emotions. Her acclaimed Juvenile fiction series TIMEFLIES is an example of how stories can both enrich and entertain. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with her family.
About the Illustrator
Rebecca Alexander, mother of two now-grown-up boys, is an accomplished artist with a private gallery. Her work has been featured on Canada Post Christmas Cards & stamps. She lives in St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada.