Practicing Gratitude

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving and all month I’ve been thinking about the practice of gratitude. Gratitude takes practice, especially during a year like this one!, and I think finding ways to make it a habit, both for yourself and for your family, is such a wonderful thing to work on.

For November I made a goal of writing something I was grateful for every day in my journal. This is such a simple thing, and it really does force you to examine your day for things that were good. It made it easier to fall asleep at night.

Say out loud as a family something good that happened each day. We go around the table at dinner and everyone shares the worst part of their day and the best part of their day. The worst part because no day is perfect and it feels really good to have the ones you love say- oh man, that does sound bad! I also think it helps for them to hear that Chris and I have hard moments too. Especially this year, sugar coating the hard stuff doesn’t feel helpful. But then we share the best parts and there are always smiles and cheers. And sometimes the answer is- the day being over! or right now having dinner!- and that’s ok too.

Give back all together. This one is taking a little more work this year as things like volunteering to make pies for the homeless shelter (a tradition from the before times!) are not possible. I found a food pantry just down the road and the kids are helping me remember to buy food on their needs list and take it with me to drop off. Letting them be a part of the giving back leads to bigger conversations and also helps them form a habit that I hope carries them through adulthood.

I don’t believe that we need to look for lessons in trauma or force ourselves to find the positive in every situation. Those feelings of grief and loss, no matter the situation, need to be felt. However I do think that we can feel all those things and still find something to give thanks for. I think this practice is a wonderful habit to form and will serve us well the rest of our lives.

How are you giving thanks today? What are you giving thanks for?

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