Our attitude is ours

November 22, 2022

By Jeff Becraft


On Thursday of last week, we took our other Texan grandson, two-year-old Levi, to the Aquarium in Dallas. This was quite an adventure… in more ways than one.

Dallas has more highways, going in more directions, with more bridges, and more being built, with traffic that goes on for miles, than anything I have ever seen. Even with a GPS, we got lost more than once in downtown Dallas. Whoever laid out Dallas, well… my hat is off to them (a cowboy hat, that is). We even went across one bridge twice.

And who would know that there are two aquariums in Dallas… and our GPS first took us to the wrong one.  All of it became part of the adventure… mostly.

We got to see where the Cotton Bowl is played, we saw two really cool bridges, and my favorite part of the adventure gone rogue was going through this tunnel underpass.

But it was also starting to wear on me. There were so many right turns (wrong turns?) that were unclear. They would be right next to one another and many times we didn’t realize we chose the wrong one until it was too late.

When I really started to fray is when we finally got there, we are right in front of the building… and it is the wrong parking lot. I feel like telling the GPS she needs to get another job. My wife spies the correct parking lot and we pull in and park. We had forgotten to bring Levi’s jacket so Brenda grabs him and heads towards the entrance while O.G. (you’re looking at him – old and grumpy) pulls out the stroller and the backpack… and I start to head down the yellow brick road of unraveling.

Brenda and Levi are long gone. Never mind that on the right, painted on the side of the building… in big bold letters… with an arrow pointing to the right that says “ENTRANCE”…  O.G. never saw it.  (You see what my wife lives with.) I head to the left and I think that I am heading to the entrance when in reality, I wind up on the back side of the building. There is no signage for the entrance. I head further down the yellow brick road.

I finally find the entrance, wind my way up to the ticket booth, all proud of myself… and there is no Brenda and Levi. They were outside in the cold waiting for me at the edge of the parking lot to the right.

I am in full descent with my attitude at this point.

The aquarium is very uniquely and creatively laid out. And normally I would have fully appreciated that. But it was not very well marked (like we should expect anything else?) and by this time, I was no longer walking on the yellow brick road, but was in a full gallop.

Everything and everyone was bothering me. I started grumbling to myself, “I have stood in this line for 3 minutes to get a bottle of water and the line hasn’t even moved.” “How in the world do you get to the next level?” “Where did all these high schoolers come from? Who in their right mind would bring them out here for a field trip on the day that we are here?”  (And this is coming from a guy who has dedicated much of his life to working with high schoolers and likes being around high schoolers.)

All in all, though, it turned out to be a really good day. Levi is still talking about it.  I am glad we did it. But it could have been a better day.

As one thing after another began to not go the way I thought it would, my attitude began to tumble downhill. And even though I was enjoying myself, the silent grumbling took away from the glory of it all.

It wasn’t the GPS’s fault, it wasn’t the fault of the girl working at the drink counter, it wasn’t even the fault of the person who laid out the roads in Dallas (although I have a suspicion they were laid out on horseback when they were herding cattle and going every which direction.) It was my fault.

There are all kinds of circumstances in life and some we can control and some we cannot. But our attitude is ours. We can choose.

If I had simply been thankful for each scenario and thankful that we were getting to go out with Levi and embraced each moment, a good day would have been an even better day.


Jeff Becraft is the Interim Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].