Since Thanksgiving I've been on a gratitude mission in our home, feeling that it's an aspect of my kids' lives that hasn't been developing as fully or quickly as their reading, math, and music skills. Gratitude isn't something that has come easily to me in my life, so it's no mystery that it's a place of stuck qi in our family harmony. But I've worked it through the years through incredible friendships, yoga, and being a healer, and of course having two little ones to nurture each day really makes it so much easier.
Thanksgiving Day found us with an impromtu gratitude tree. A branch, blue glitter spray paint didn't hurt. Some cut out leaves and some marker pens...shiny gold and silver didn't hurt either. Make the craft bling-y, and the kids are suddenly vying for the marker pens..."I want to make another one, I want to make one..."
So, that was a start.
We usually do some sort of blessing at the table and often it is a gratitude. One evening, Isaiah wouldn't, couldn't, absolutely refused to do a gratitude. And I wouldn't, couldn't, absolutely refused to give him his dinner until he would name one little thing he could be grateful for. After 15 minutes of his tears (a hugely unusual occurence) and our impasse, his little sister suggested that he needed to eat in order to come up with a gratitude and that maybe he could dig something up before dessert if I went ahead and let him eat. Her common sense prevailed.
Out came the Gratitude Journal. I actually made it last year, but hadn't found the right time to start using it with family buy-in. Now, it sits out sort of hidden in plain sight, not beckoning but available. And it's been getting some action!! In little pockets of the day I see someone adding to it. Warms my heart.
Especially during this time of year, when what set me off was a very long and precise wish list to Santa with no niceties to soften it, I ask daily how we can step back and be grateful while still celebrate this abundance we are blessed with. We know it's not stuff that makes us happy, but teaching the kiddos that lesson while still showering them with goodies is a fine balance.
It'll be a long process, but worth it, because isn't gratitude for what you have the key to happiness?
But another note, if those in your life are asking Santa for special somethings, it's worth taking a few minutes to make some videos from Santa. I think the naughty one for Steve was my favorite.
And ps...Thanks for your encouragement for me to keep at it here, friends. Somehow, as strange as it seems, it's easier to be inspired and find the energy to write when the kiddos are home with me. Now that they've begun their 3-week vacation, I'm in blissland.