Ok, so I had originally thought I would be naming this post “Creating an Attitude of Gratitude,” It’s cute and it rhymes and I thought it embodied what I wanted to say, but as I got into it I realized, I wasn’t creating the attitude in me or in my children. I can’t create an attitude, we all choose our own attitudes, but I can create an atmosphere that enables and embodies grateful actions. My goal in all this is to make it memorable so when faced with the the choice of being grateful or not we will realized the feelings and blessings associated with gratitude and chose the gratitude path.
Reminders in the home
In the past as a family we have started out the month of November with a gratitude remembrance activity. Typically it has involved throwing a bean in a jar to represent something we are grateful for. We try to fill the jar with beans before Thanksgiving. Typically this has gone really well for a few days and then the day or so before Thanksgiving we get a rush of gratitude with showing an immense amount of gratitude for the candy wrapper that showed we once had a treat, just so we can fill the jar. Although I am a big proponent of seeing good in the little things, I knew this year we needed something more, yet simple so we could keep up on it.
There are so many ideas about physical ways to display your the things you are grateful for. This year we came up with the Gratitude Chain, It was simple, in your face and it is a decoration we can add to and keep up on through Christmas. In a visible place in the home we have our Chain hanging as well as a basket with markers, paper strips and tape so we can keep the paper chain growing. I have found the kids adding more to the chain first thing after school and numerous time throughout the day. The only rule is the same person cannot put the same item on more than one link. As our chain grows the realization of the many daily things we have to be thankful for increases, and the chain becomes a little more cumbersome, but in a good way!
Take time today to express your gratitude to your children and spouse. A good example will go a long way! We try to keep thank you cards and paper available for our children express their gratitude and encourage them to write thank yous for gifts and acts of kindness. Realizing how fully you are blessed is a blessing in itself.
Seeing Needs of Others
Service is a key ingredient in creating a gratitude atmosphere. We try to help our children be aware of the little services they are performing through the day by asking at the dinner table ways each person has found to serve that day. I admit there have been times where I haven’t felt there was much I could for others, because we were going through so much, and have little to spent. Meaningful service truly fills a need, but doesn’t always have to take a bunch of planning or money. There are so many ways to serve as a family.
Fall Family Service Ideas
- Rake a neighbor’s lawn
- Prep neighbor’s garden for winter
- Take pictures of fall leaves and create a collage for a home bound friend
- Offer to have another families kids over to let the parents get out on a date
Recognising Light Within
Realizing you have something to offer helps enrich life and opens doors to greater service. This year we decided to incorporate this in our letters to Santa. Each year your children are allowed to ask for 3 things in their letters to Santa (3 gifts from the 3 wise man). One gift of something they need, to wear (represents myrrh). One gift of something that enriches their mind, or helps them improve their talents (represents frankincense). Then something they want (represents gold). This year with their gold item they needed to explain to Santa how they could share that gift with others. Helping my children develop their talents and find ways to share them with others really enhances our gratitude atmosphere in our home.
Feeling grateful when faced with trial can be a difficult task. The holidays are knocking at the door and we have been through another rough financial year, not to mention being unemployed again. So many stresses and really just little going right. With all these things slapping us in the face each morning it can be nigh near impossible to see the blessings around us. Because I am fighting with all I have to get through all of this I knew I needed to have an in your face reminder of the good things in our life, not just for me but for my hard working, stressing hubby and sweet kiddos. Not only have we needed a physical reminder, but we truly need to realize how blessed we really are. We may not have it all, but we have each other and that is pretty darn good!