Did you get a chance to check out the free giving thanks journal I mentioned a while back? If not, head over to my post here. You can join us in making November an entire month of expressing gratitude and being a blessing to others.
I was a little surprised to find this exercise somewhat difficult for my children this week. I assumed giving thanks would come naturally to us, and found instead that we are sometimes stumped when asked what we are grateful for.
The girls are very good at acknowledging small things that make them happy: no school tomorrow, pancakes for breakfast, or sunshine outside. Meaningful blessings are harder, though. I hoped for children who would acknowledge one another for thoughtful gestures, think deeply about how hard their dad works to bring home a paycheck, or maybe even acknowledge their mom for her sacrifices.
That did not happen at all. I realize now that my thinking was totally ridiculous. I do not live in a land of Utopian gratefulness. I live in the real world with real kids. And I am a real mom.
It is a really good thing we are intentionally thinking about giving thanks. While we will likely not think “big” thoughts this month when it comes to gratitude, even our appreciation for the small stuff indicates that we are capable of thinking about the world beyond our own selves.
Our giving thanks journal asks us to do two tasks every day. First, we are to list the things for which we are grateful. Second, we are to determine ways we can be a blessing to others. I adapted that idea somewhat and instead asked my daughters how they had already been a blessing to someone else.
So, here are the highlights from our family for the past week.
We are thankful for:
- The weather (One day this was sunshine, another day was rain, the third snow. Different children are looking for different experiences outside, I guess.),
- Dancing (I am fairly certain this is specific to dance lessons.),
- Time together as a family (We had a child that did not want to go to her public school classes this week. While she did go, she was very clear that she would have preferred to stay home.).
- Time with friends (Enjoying the outdoors and the weather with those around us.).
How we have been a blessing:
- Listening to someone else this week–really listening–when they needed us,
- Playing nice with a sister,
- Using an indoor voice during school time,
- Being cooperative when mom asked for something unpleasant to get done,
- Stepping in and helping out without being asked,
- Utilizing patience with a person who was being difficult to get along with.
That is our list! I will check back in next week. How about you?
What is your family grateful for? How have you been a blessing to others?