Planting a Family Garden of Gratefulness


This is the time of year that I love to watch the leaves race down the driveway like a group of excited children running to see a new attraction. I feel grateful to live in a part of the world where we get to enjoy four seasons. Each season holds its own gifts. Years ago, during the busy fall preparations for the holidays, I found myself becoming frazzled and cranky. I was not feeling the true holiday spirit, and my acting job did not fool my family one bit.

In my heart, I knew it was time for me to make some changes and turn this picture around. I have so much for which to be grateful; however, I had gotten out of the daily practice. One of the most powerful things I can do for myself is begin my day listing three things for which I am grateful at the beginning of my day. You can read about my other favorite daily rituals here: Making Time for You – Rock Your Day in 5 minutes.

When I take the time to focus on things for which I am grateful in my life, I can feel a shift in my energy and my mood becomes much lighter. When our children are younger, we teach them to say “thank you” with the intention that it will become a learned behavior. We also need to help them practice gratitude on a daily basis. Then, we will be nurturing grateful children who grow into grateful teens and adults.

One of the ways our family practices gratitude by sharing something from the day for which we are thankful. Additionally, we sit at the dinner table and take turns with each family member sharing a quality or trait for which they are grateful in each other family member. My husband and I share stories about our ancestors and their challenges and successes so that our children can start to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. We discuss how we are all standing here today because of so many people who longed to create a better way for their family.  Our family is blessed with a bountiful harvest because of the seeds that were planted by the efforts of so many caring people who walked before us, and for this, I am so profoundly grateful. © Tracy J. Nicholas 2015

What are some ways that your family expresses gratefulness? Tell us in the comments below.

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