Just Living To Winning: Be Brave & Happy

Dear Family & Friends,

I went to pick up my 3-year old son from his dad’s house after work. Once upon a time we were married and raising our happy family together, but now we couldn’t agree on anything. Rules were so different at each house, it was so bizarre.

How To Deal With Difficult People
— OR —
With A Difficult Situation

For some reason, they were arguing when I arrived. His father was overreacting and yelling at our little boy by the time I walked up to the porch. I didn’t know what the problem was, but as my son walked past me and towards the car, I could see the anger rise up in him. His little hands turned to fists and his shoulders arched up high. He turned around and pointed at his dad, “I’m not the jerk! You’re the jerk!”

Normally I would say a parent should step in if a child is being disrespectful, but I didn’t know what they were arguing about and I really didn’t want to get involved in their disagreement. I had spent years in and out of court with this man and he never cooperated with anything. I didn’t even know him anymore. Besides, how low could a grown man go, I thought, calling a little boy names?

His dad stammers as he tries to say one last thing, “You’re mother is going to have a talk with you when you get home!”

My son continued walking to the car. I was still standing there in shock for a moment. I felt put on the spot. What was I suppose to say? We have a no-name-calling rule at my house, but his father would act like he was just joking if someone was offended when he belittled them. I never understood why you would purposely try to hurt someone’s feelings like that? Just to win an argument? I silently agreed with my son, his dad is a jerk!

I got in the car with my son and started the short one-mile drive home. I didn’t know what I was going to say to him. Before we can even turn the corner at the end of the street, my son asks me, “So, are you going to have a talk with me?”

Mothers Know Best

I was hoping we would get home first so I had time to think. I flashed back to a week or two before when I was arguing with his sister. I wasn’t even out of bed yet and she was standing beside me trying to have her way. I wasn’t having it that particular morning. I am the parent, I am in charge, I get the last word!

My little boy asks about breakfast. I had planned everyone’s favorite: Bacon. We started down the long hallway to the kitchen when my daughter stopped me with her demands. Here we go again!

We were arguing in the doorway to her bedroom. Around in circles we go, mother and daughter locked into another battle of wits.

My son breaks into the conversation and he takes me by the hand. “We were gonna go make bacon, remember?”

About crushed my heart! Of course my time and energy should be spent with this little one making memories in the kitchen and not arguing with his sister! Ugh! I quickly ended the conversation, closing with my last words to my mini-me.

I walk into the kitchen and see the peacemaker of the family looking up at me, and he asks, “Do you need a hug?”

I see his arms reaching out to me, I drop to my knees, saying “Yes,” and hugged him back. As we sat there on the kitchen floor hugging each other, he says to me, “You have to be brave.”

“Yes,” I say.

“And Happy.” He says.

“Yes.”  I say.

“You have to be brave and happy.”


He was so smart. Brilliant, in fact. He knew at that moment you have to stand up for yourself and be brave, but at the same time not let it bring you down and make you sad or angry, just be happy and move forward. And that’s how the family motto was born. When dealing with difficult people and difficult situations, you have to be “Brave & Happy.”

Learning From Our Lessons

So then it hit me. As I turned the corner down another street, I told my son,  “You have to be brave and happy.” I was proud that this little guy stood up for himself and didn’t let anyone push him around, not even his father. I could see his look of concern fade now and he was relieved. He smiled as he remembered our little conversation in the kitchen last week.

“When you have to deal with difficult people, you have to be brave and happy.” We can forget about angry people and let them be angry. We were going to be happy now and go make dinner. “I love you so much,” I told him.

“I love you, too, Mom.”

“All the way to the moon, and back again!” we said together.

I thought about our little motto, “Brave & Happy.” Its like the entire serenity prayer all wrapped up into those three little words, but very concise little words.

God, grand me the serenity to accept the things I can not change;
courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.


Be brave and have the courage to stand up for yourself. Speak up and don’t let a situation grow out of control… take care of the situation and do what has to be done… because it won’t go away or get better until you do.


Or be happy. If there isn’t anything you can do or it is none of your business, you have to find the serenity within yourself to accept it as it is and move on. Don’t let your mind wander back to that situation and upset your serenity. Force your mind to change the subject! Look forward to your dream, for example, and let that other thing go… be happy.


Wisdom is knowing which direction to take. Always do what you can to improve a situation. Think wisely if it is in your best interest or everyone’s best interest… if it is a benefit in some way, you must be brave and act accordingly.

But be happy also, no matter what, at the same time. If there isn’t anything you can do (or maybe it is someone else’s battle and not yours) you have to let it go. Whether you agree or not. Let it go. Accept the fact there are other people existing on this planet, and other people’s actions and opinions are okay for them, without it affecting you.Your happiness and serenity is controlled by you – not them. And isn’t that a wonderful thing!

You are in control of your reaction and your attitude regardless of their action or their attitude. You can control how you feel and you can decide how you react to difficult people… with anger and dislike, or with love and foresight.

So simple, yet so complex, Be Brave & Happy!





P.S.  Tell me about your family motto! I welcome your comments, please post below.

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16 thoughts on “Just Living To Winning: Be Brave & Happy

  • May 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I love that motto: Be Brave and Happy! I think it can be so hard when we are dealing with difficult people to take that step back and let go what we can’t control.
    I also really loved how you didn’t get mad at your son when you didn’t know the situation. I think when you are co-parenting you have to be careful to not take sides when you don’t know, so great job!
    I also really like how you started this article as a letter. It felt like you were speaking just to me on something that I had been worrying about just last night! So thank you so much!
    We don’t really have a family motto yet, but I would really like to think of one. Something that my husband and i do is say ” I love you” all the time. We probably say it to each other 10-15 times a day, and when things are hard or one of us is sad, we say I love you and I’m sorry this is happening. That way the other person knows we are listening and we care, even if we can’t help or take away the problem.
    How do you think I can create a family motto?

    • May 23, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      A family motto can be anything that resonates with you or your family. When my kids were younger and I wanted them to share and get along, I introduced them to the golden rule (do unto others…). They were so clumsy and didn’t think things through, and I found myself saying “Safety first!” so much they thought that was the number one rule! But it really did help.

      When my girls were teenagers and taking off with their friends without me, I skipped the traditional, “Have a good time,” or “Make good choices!” and would instead say, “Be safe & sane!” I thought that was pretty smart, keeping safety in the forefront of their thoughts. They said I sounded like a fireworks commercial, LOL. I do it anyway.

      Until you find something else you like as a family motto, “I Love You,” works really good, too.

  • May 24, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I really loved your article. I could completely relate. I have a ittle one and he is 6 years old. He is constantly caught in the snare of ugliness between my ex-husband and me. I am always scrambling my brain on how to mininimize the impact on him. He is brave. Thank you so much, I plan to come back to your site.

    • May 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Just remember little ears are always listening… don’t have conversations about your child during exchanges. Keep discussions private over the phone or use email. Yes, do come back! There’s a lot more stories to come!

  • May 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I love your site! It is truly an encouraging place to visit daily. My family’s motto is “Keep Hope Alive” LOL. We have been through so much together and so the only thing we can do is trust that God will get us through it because He literally gives us the hope we need to fight another day. With this motto, we do not worry about our lives and whether bills will be paid or how we are going to make it. We simply just live out each day spreading the joy and triumphs we have and I’m glad that you are too. Stay encouraged and continue to be encouraging.

    • May 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It is a deliberate decision everyday to be grateful, joyful & encouraging. Whenever I am the least bit sad or depressed, I remember to have hope for what is to come. Hope is truly the answer to get over that hump, so “Keep Hope Alive” is a great motto!

  • May 27, 2017 at 1:32 am

    That is a good observation. Brave and happy is a bit like the Serenity prayer. I am all about that!! I agree it is tough raising kids and especially more than one. You seem to have it handled though. I can see why your name is ‘busygirl’!

    Great post. I look forward to reading more!!

    • May 28, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      The days sure go by fast with 3 kids underfoot… plus I was working 2 jobs. That’s when I first started using the screen name ‘busy girl’ lol. Now I have created multiple sources of income so I only work for myself. So much more peaceful! Thanks for stopping by.

  • May 29, 2017 at 5:27 am

    We never had a family motto that I remember! But I do love your post, it was very engaging. I never say so unless it really is an engaging read. I don’t know what’s it’s like to be a mother but I can see that you are very brave.

    This post will inspire a lot of people who come across it. There is no argument there. It seems like you been doing this a long time. All the best to you on this journey as a mother, especially a single mother if I read right?

    • May 29, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I was married for 10 years with our 2 daughters before it ended in an ugly divorce and a new baby boy. So then I was a single mother for 10 years while working 2 jobs to support 3 kids. But when you LOVE your family, you can survive and thrive!

  • June 3, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Hi Darla!

    I love how you keep your family together with that “Brave & Happy” lifestyle!

    In my family (actually formed by my wife and I), we got different mottos as the situations or moments of our life, but we mainly stick by “Seize the day and respect others”.

    Dealing with children is a complete different thing, I really admire those who have them and give their best to raise them as decent and respectable people.

    Keep up living to winning!

    Thanks for sharing life wisdom! 🙂

    • June 4, 2017 at 12:16 am

      Yep, every day is a new adventure! So glad you stopped by and left a comment. It is encouraging to have some readers start to find my site and share my stories. Love, Darla

  • October 20, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    What a great family motto. I love the positive message that it sends! I’ve never really thought about a family motto, but I find myself saying ‘focus, focus, focus’ to my daughter a lot. I guess it has stuck with her because she repeated it to her pre-school teacher the other day when she walked into a wall. She gets distracted easily and forgets to look where she’s going, or takes a long time to eat, get dressed, etc. because she’s watching anything and everything else. When she stays focused she does great, but she needs the reminder! LOL.

    • October 27, 2017 at 5:33 am

      Family mottoes can change, too! My oldest daughter grew really fast, always at the top of the height & weight charts. And clumsy like me, so I was always reminding her to watch where she was walking. Then one day I noticed, as she was paying attention to her feet, she was hit in the head by a low branch. Doh! She was growing so tall that she needed to watch her head, too! “Safety first!” became a very important saying!

  • April 17, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    My heart soared with love when I read about that beautiful exchange between mother and son. I have two grown up sons, no daughters and I have one Grand son who is also dear to my heart (he’s 8). I am sorry your Ex is such a difficult man, but with you as a role model, your son will grow up with loads of better character than his father. Hugs

    • April 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Madeleine. It has been such a joy watching my children grow up and become wonderful adults. We all have so much enthusiasm for life and love for humanity (unlike their dad) and I am proud to be their mom.
      Love, Darla


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