Wednesdays @ WeHaKee: Gratitude!
DAILY GRATITUDE SHARING: Just like we do with our Highs and Lows at dinner, we can get into the habit of sharing, as a family, one (or more) things we’re grateful for. This can be at dinner, on the car ride to school, at bedtime, or whatever time works best with your family’s schedule. Just make it a daily habit and everyone will get used to it. When we’ve tried this, it seems to eventually warrant some kind of guidelines about what types of things are “shareable.” For example, being thankful for a particular video game might be appropriate to share once, but it’s best to encourage everyone to share about people and events (rather than things) they are grateful for.
GRATITUDE JAR OR BOARD: This can be an ongoing family gratitude practice, perhaps kicked off at Thanksgiving and ending on Gratitude JarNew Year’s Eve. For the jar, people jot down things they are grateful for and put the notes inside. On a specified day (end of the year is good!), empty the jar and read the notes so the whole family can reflect on individual and group blessings. A board is a more visual way to show thanks. Simply tack the notes up as you think of things you’re thankful for. For my family, whether doing the jar or the board, I think I would have a “minimum daily or weekly requirement” of one note per person, just so we make it a habit and fill up our jar or board.
THANKFUL “WARM FUZZIES” AT THANKSGIVING: This is one of my favorite activities and something we’ve done for the past few years. Each family member and visiting friend has an oversized place card at their dining spot. Throughout the afternoon and evening, people are required to write something they appreciate or are grateful for about each person on the inside of their place card. It can be just a few words or a whole sentence, but each person needs to write on everyone’s card. These are really fun keepsakes that provide a nice boost to each family member. This can also be done as a group by passing the cards around until each person has signed each other person’s card. When your own card gets back to you, you’ve completed your warm fuzzies!
GRATITUDE JOURNAL: This is an activity we did as a family a few years ago. We had a lot of fun creating the journals, but we didn’t keep up with writing in them regularly, so I’m going to call us failures at gratitude journals. However, I’m going to dust off my journal and put it on my bedside table so that I can write three things I’m thankful for each day. But I’m not going to force anyone else to write in their journals. I think sharing out loud, at dinner or bedtime (see #1), is better for kids who don’t enjoy writing. Perhaps a good alternative would be a family gratitude journal, completed by a parent or designated scribe, when everyone’s sharing what they’re grateful for. That would be similar to the gratitude jar or gratitude board.
GIVING TO OTHERS: Perhaps the best way to promote gratitude in our children and ourselves is reaching out and serving others who are less fortunate. There are so many opportunities this time of year (and all year long, for that matter) to participate in collection and delivery of food, toys for children, winter coats, and more. There are so many needy people, and reaching out to help others not only makes us more kind and compassionate, but also more appreciative of what we have.
This is just food for thought (which doesn’t result in an immediate for a long snooze on the couch afterwards!). We wish you, your family and friends a most thankful and grateful Thanksgiving. And please take a moment to pray for those who may not have enough food to eat, lack proper shelter, and may not have the support of family or friends. Thank you for reading and supporting us at WeHaKee World.