Goofus or Gallant.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Growing up, it seemed like every time we visited the doctor's office, there was a (usually very outdated) Highlights magazine on the waiting room table. Mom would pick it up and flip through until she found the Goofus and Gallant feature. Even from the time we were 5 or 6, we thought it was hilarious... and incredibly cheesy. (Anyone else remember these guys?)

Goofus was naughty and Gallant was nice.
Goofus took short cuts. Gallant took his time.
Goofus was selfish. Gallant thought of others.
For whatever reason, what most stands out to me about them is that Goofus complained, while Gallant looked at the bright side.

Recently, I've felt like there's a Goofus on one shoulder, and a Gallant on the other.

At 1:00 am:
Goofus: I can't believe I'm still sewing. I've been a mom all day, I've run errands, answered emails, and sewed, and I'm still not finished.
Gallant: I have a thriving business and get to make a living sewing! I'm getting paid for my creativity, get to work with my hands, and spend my days with my baby. What a gift.
Side note: I've been able to hire two seamstresses, and still have lots of work to do... but it's getting more manageable by the day. Thank you, Lord!

At 4:00 am:
Goofus:Can he seriously be hungry again?
Gallant: He's so healthy and growing, and I'm the only one in the world to get to spend this time with him right now and provide for his needs.

At 5:00 pm:
Goofus: What in the world are we supposed to have for dinner? There's no time for grocery shopping, planning, and I don't know how anyone can expect me to keep up with that.
Gallant:  I have no idea what I'm going to cook, but there are so many options. And if I don't have time to cook, we can eat out! I don't want to take that luxury for granted.

Both perspectives seem pretty extreme. Goofus is a total downer, and Gallant appears to live in dreamland. But what I'm learning (again and again and again) is that it's all about perspective. They both live in the same world, right? But they've made a choice. A choice that I can make at every turn. I can choose gratitude. I can choose joy. The thing is, joy never comes naturally from my heart. I can easily find a Goofus in there who is bitter and whiny, but it's harder to find Gallant. Joy comes solely from Christ, as He's my source of joy, of beauty, of inspiration, of motivation, of every good and perfect gift. So I have to pray for that perspective: at 1am, at 4am, at every hour of every day.

So I'd love to hear... any Goofus vs. Gallant scenarios in your own life? This could be fun. :)

PS - It's a privilege to be guest posting on Hollie's blog today about some new mom things I've learned. Visit the post here. Thanks, Hollie, for having me!


  1. I don't write them down, because my english is bad....
    But i recognise it really!!
    Most of the time the bad one is the first.... But I pray God will help me, the give me the good chose (?!) i hope I write it good ;-)

  2. Hm. After a particularly wakeful night mith my feverish baby, this was just the reminder to me to pursue the joy God is giving me that I needed!

  3. Great post, Whitney! Joy seems to slip away so easily these days. Thank you for reminding us to aim to be joyful in all circumstances, even when it feels as though ungratefulness is the only option. Goodbye Goofus, hello Gallant! :)

  4. I used to love those magazines! And this cracks me up, because I was having one of those days yesterday. I had an unexpected task dumped in my lap and I was just getting cranky about it. For several hours I felt like I kept fighting with myself to have a good attitude. I was getting annoyed that I had so much to do on my "day off", but then I would realize how blessed I am to have a house to clean, dishes to wash, etc. I didn't want to go out in the snow and get groceries, but then conviction would hit and I would think about how thankful I was that we could afford groceries. It hasn't always been the case.

    You're so right about the balance thing. No one wants a Debbie Downer all the time, but someone with her head in the clouds all the time isn't a help either. I'm with you - let's choose joy. :)

  5. My favorite remembrance about those Goofus/Gallant columns would be assigning you and Kelsey to read their parts, like we were performing a play. Whether you got to be Goofus or Gallant, there was the opportunity to act it out on the EXTREME side. :) Definitely think it taught that there is always a joy-filled, positive way to respond. Remember the Good, Better, Best game??
    Love you, Mom

  6. What a joy to find someone else who remember Goofus or Gallant! You may have thought these were cheesy, but look at the lessons they imparted to you (and many other, me included). I was blessed to have my grandma living with us when we were growing up, she always taught us to see the good, to look for the positive in each situation and the most important lesson she regularly reminded us was that even when things looked grim G-d is in control and to be patient and trust Him. I know I have days when I have to tell Goofus to just be quiet, I am blessed, blessed, blessed and to remember that just because I don't get my way doesn't mean there isn't something even better awaiting me. G-d bless :-)

    1. Such a sweet lesson to learn. Thanks, Tamara.

  7. Very Interesting thoughts:) I need more Gallant in my life

  8. This post totally reminds me of a chapter called "The Story of My Life" from "What Happy People Know". We read it in my psychology class a few weeks ago and it was definitely one of those "this book changed my life!" moments. It was so moving and has really made me realize how terrible self-pity over the littlest things that go wrong in my life is when I have such a blessed life with such amazing people. Also, it reinforces what you said about us being able to choose joy. I believe that although we can't control everything that happens in our lives, we can control our perspective and we CAN choose to be content. (P.S. here's the link to the book on Amazon, I think you can read part of the chapter and it's definitely worth checking out! )

  9. As a new mom myself, I certainly identified with this post! My son is just coming out of a "wonder week" (a developmental growth spurt), and I've definitely needed to choose joy these past few days.
    Goofus: Gah! This baby is so temperamental right now, and nap time has become a gruelling endeavour!
    Gallant: How amazing it is to watch this child learn and grow! So he's cranky now, but it will soon pass.
    Thanks for the reminder! However, there is one situation that even Gallant wouldn't be able to view positively: hiccups right when baby is going down for a nap. :)

  10. I think it's so true that it's all about perspective. Thanks for that reminder! Everything we have to complain about can easily change into something we're thankful for if we just change our perspective.

  11. Totally resonate with this...many times daily.

    Goffus: Everyone else has a nanny. Everyone else gets a couple hours a week away. Why can't I?
    Gallant: I have the opportunity/benefit of staying home and get to spend so many precious hours watching our boys grow, and one days I'll see how fast these days passed and long for them back. Thank you God that I get these fleeting moments!

    Goffus: I just finished with a long week at home, and the husband says next week is going to be even longer. I can't do this another week!
    Gallant: Thank you Lord for providing for our family through my husband's job, and thank you thank you that there are friends around to help and have playdates with. You are caring and loving me in unique ways.

  12. This is just what I needed today. My husband just lost his job this week and I've been struggling with the Goofus perspective of things... A great reminder that there is opportunity for joy in EVERY situation, and that I can choose to be joyful and grateful for what we do have instead of focusing on the negatives.


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