This weekend coming up is Thanksgiving and I believe we all spend some time showing gratitude to who/what we are thankful for.
My family usually has the tradition of either going around the table and saying what we are grateful for or writing it on a piece of paper and putting it in a hat and each picking one out to say.
However lets go back a week ago.
It was one of the last warm days here in Edmonton and I had taken my kids to get slurpees. The next day my daughters were asking to get a treat from the store and I told them no. “You got slurpees yesterday”. The reply of “it was only a slurpee and that was yesterday” had me fuming a bit.
I then got to thinking about how to further teach my kids gratitude. I remember growing up and hearing the “there are kids around the world starving and don’t even ave shoes”, but I think that’s not exactly it right?
So I took to Facebook and asked my friends how THEY teach gratitude and some seriously beautiful things came up.
1.Chelsey from Mommy Connections North Edmonton said that her friend has a gratitude jar. They each write one thing they are grateful for that day and that’s how they start dinner time conversation. so sweet.
2. Shawna said “I teach it by living it. I make note out loud of what I am grateful for” Shawna says out loud she will say she is thankful for a great parking spot when they find one to her kids or when they see someone who is ill or injured she says out loud that she is thankful for health.
3. Jenna mentioned she is in the middle of reading a book called Raising Grateful Children in an Entitled World and a part talks about how it is healthy to say no to children especially in the case of it being something they want because everyone else has it . This helps teach them the difference between needs and wants.
4. Michele from Empowered Yoga says she sometimes has gratitude brainstorming sessions before bed with her kids. Bethany said she asks her son every night before bed who/what he is grateful for too.
5. The last one I want to share was a revelation I had while on the phone with my own mother. I called her to ask how she taught us as kids. I am a family of four kids and my parents separated when I was young. We had little money, meaning we didn’t always get things we wanted. I told her that I remember growing up knowing that I didn’t have some things that my friends did. I knew we didn’t exactly have lots of money, but I never felt like we were “without”. I always felt like I had everything I needed and plus some.
*wait a second… someone’s cutting onions…..*
Moving on. She told me that she would explain to us why we didn’t have things. Without the negativity. It wasn’t bad that we didn’t have brand new Nike shoes, we just had different shoes. And for things like Christmas we would circle all our desires in catalogues and she would pick the thing that we would circle like 10 times and talk about a lot and try and get that one particular thing for us. Keeping it special. We didn’t get it all, but she really tried to get one thing that meant a lot to us.
This part in the conversation it dawns on me.
Although we had little money, my mom made sure on Friday nights we spent time together and went to the store to get slurpees. We didn’t get them when it was hot out or we had a bad day, but we knew Friday it was coming. We would look forward to it all week.
That’s it. She kept the treat in having a treat. She showed us the little joys in life are easy to be grateful for. It was never about a comparison of what we have or don’t have that others do or do not. It’s actually about enjoying exactly what we can.
Thank you Mom.
Jen is a yoga teacher, fitness enthusiast and health blogger over at www.BitchinHousewife.com