My friend offered a suggestion of how to increase gratitude in our families. I love it so much I need to share with all you Boulder Families! I posted recently about a lecture I attended on the Friends’ School Year Long Gratitude Project, but here I am again coming back to the concept. Maybe it is just that it is November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But it could just be that I so need the reminder to have gratitude. With all the amazing things in my life I still get overwhelmed and feel like the world is a heavy burden instead of seeing the joy in my life. Here is a simple way to increase our gratitude on a regular basis: Create a Thankful Tree!
To create your Thankful/Grateful/Gratitude Tree you simply need to find a location in your home where you can put it up. This needs to be a sold vertical space. You need to find some brown paper [could be grocery bags, stuffing from a package, etc…], and twist it into a tree shape with branches and all. Then you cut out some leaves in whatever colors you like. My friend used the same colors, but varied the shapes. This is your creative process!
Then every evening the whole family can add something they are grateful for. In the beginning smaller children will have a tough time coming up with anything. Plan to do some role modeling until they get it. For small children they can draw instead of write or you can be their scribe. It does not matter how it gets on the leaves, it’s the gratitude that matters most.
Another friend took her kids [my son too] one morning to buy breakfast sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless people at the Boulder Public Library. It was a cool morning and at first the kids were nervous, but then they started in their own way to take part in sharing their bounty with others. They were able to see how a small act of kindness can go a long way. They were also able in the smallest way to see how much they have to be grateful for.
I would love to hear how your families offer gratitude and build it in as a value in your lives. It seems so important and yet at times tough to slow down enough to really feel gratitude deeply.