A guest series by Gretchen Garrison
You would think by the reaction that I got from my children that I asked them to give up their Halloween candy: “You want us to make a list every day of what we are thankful for? Every day? Really, Mom?” Of course I think their initial response was because they thought they had to be the ones doing the writing. When I told them that I was going to be the one compiling the lists, the grumbling diminished a little bit.
Their negative response was a bit surprising. After all, we have sporadically gone around the table mentioning the highlights of our day. That is sort of being thankful, right? But this time I told them that they had to be specific. What happened TODAY that you are grateful for? Just saying “I’m thankful for my family” won’t cut it this time. Learning to be intentionally thankful for what comes our way is my goal. I am hopeful that with me trying be more thankful, that this attitude will be contagious in my children.
You see, like many children in America, I feel like mine are incredibly blessed. Rather than resulting in appreciation, often they take these privileges for granted. Of course, so do I. Too quickly my response is to be frustrated rather than to seeking out just what I can actually be thankful for.
Such as …
-Complaining that I have to go out and run rather than recognizing that fact that I am 41 & still able to “jog” while others my age struggle with health issues.
-Bemoaning the fact that I have to eat to leftovers rather than recognizing the fact that these containers are proof that I went to bed full rather than hungry
-Being frustrated over the fact that my kids are leaving messes all over the house rather than remembering that someday I will miss hearing them pound the floor above my head. I guess the messes allows an opportunity to train them. 🙂
-Looking in my closet and whining that I have nothing to wear rather than seeing the fact that I have way more than one change of clothing is such a privilege.
These are just a few areas that show my lack of gratitude. Just yesterday my daughter had to remind me to be thankful. She had spilled milk and was asked to clean it up. She took her father’s suggestion beyond his intended meaning and proceeded to clean out even the refrigerator drawers out that now contained drops of milk. Normally this would be a good thing except that she was doing this in the middle of the floor in our small kitchen. I was fussing at her a bit to hurry up since I was also trying to clean up breakfast. She reminded me that maybe I should just be thankful that she was trying so hard rather than being impatient. Always humbling and hard to learn needed lessons from our children!
For the month of November, each of our family members will be writing down what we are thankful for on one post-it-note, then hanging them up above the window in our kitchen. Since we do spend a lot of time in that room, my hope is that visual reminder will cause us to keep gratefulness in mind. At the beginning of December I will let you know if we accomplished our goal, and I will also share with you some of the cutest and most profound entries. I think I am going to be amazed at the impact of this experiment on myself and on the rest of my family.
Between now and then, this blog will be addressing areas where gratitude can impact our lives – everything from health to possessions to basic daily functions. If you are in need of inspiration, please check out Suzanne’s specially created Gratitude Board. Have any great suggestions of how you practice gratitude? Please leave your ideas on Suzanne’s Norwex Facebook page or simply comment below. If you plan on joining the gratitude experiment, please let her know that as well. I am always glad to have company on such a great endeavor!