Moans and mockery is what I got those first few morning drives to school in September 2018. These retorts were in response to my attempt to create a gratitude practice with my three girls (then ages 11, 11, and 12) on our morning drives to school. This was at a time when I had been doing a lot of learning on gratitude practices and the benefits they provide:
Shift our attention from negativity and stress
Boost our mood
Make us stronger and more resilient
Increase our self-esteem and reduces social comparisons
Keep us present and not dwelling on past negative experiences
Who wouldn’t want to help provide that to their kids, right?? I thought a morning gratitude ritual would be a perfect way to start their days. But...my girls didn’t seem to think so, and our morning gratitude practice didn’t even make it to the end of the first week.
Fast forward to 2020…
Gratitude has played a significant role in the resiliency our family is grasping at in this uncertain and trying time. It is NOW, in these times of uncertainty and loss that my girls understand the value of practicing gratitude. How important it is to reach for moments of joy and thankfulness in times that don’t easily lend to that frame of mind.
The gratitude that we have reached for this season has also served as a recalibration—helping us identify the parts of our lives that hold true value and meaning. It has taught us not to take anything for granted. My hope is that my girls have learned the value that gratitude can play in your life, by having experienced, first hand, the benefits it offers in times of despair. My hope is that they will continue to use gratitude every day of their lives, moulding them into happy and self-confident young women that make positive contributions to society.
We have learned that it’s not just about being grateful for the big things, like your health, clean water, family and having food on the table. It’s about being grateful for the little things in life. The small pieces that make up your days. Like enjoying your favourite cup of tea, relaxing in a pair of cozy sweatpants, ZOOM calls with your extended family to catch up, or recognizing the generosity and good nature of others.
When you look for the little things, you will notice that they are all around you, and that you are indeed living a life of abundance.
The best way to incorporate gratitude into your family’s life is to model it for your children. And what better way to do that than a creative project for the whole family, that can also serve as a keepsake for years to come. These mini gratitude books are like a snippet in time that capture the meaningful and important parts of your life at that moment. Not only will these books be a great thing to look back on, but they are a great way to be present in your life and they teach your kids to be present and joyful in their lives as well. It’s a great activity to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, or any day. You can do it as a family book, each filling out your own page; or each person in your family can create their own book.
4 EASY STEPS TO A GRATITUDE PRACTICE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
PRINT THE TEMPLATE. COLOUR IT IN. FOLD IT UP & FILL IT OUT.
Click HERE to download the template and create them together with your family.