Gratitude Challenge: 30 Days of Thankfulness

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I recently read an article about a guy who embarked on a journey of gratitude.  Yes, I just read it last week, but no, I don’t remember all the details (I hope I have at least one kid willing to take care of me when I’m old because my poor memory is going already), and I’m too lazy to walk upstairs and get it right now.  Seriously, though, the details of the article aren’t as important to me as what I’ve decided to do with it.

We are a family of complainers.  We tend, as a whole, to focus on the negative, rather than the multitudes of positives, with a lot of bickering amongst the siblings thrown in for fun.  I’ve also noticed that nagging and griping about the bickering and negativity doesn’t really affect change.  Go figure.  Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real here.

So, our family has decided to embark upon 30 Days of Gratitude in which we’ve purposed to do our best to focus on the positive and on the blessings in our lives.  Based on a suggestion from the article I read, we’ve put a Thankful Tree in a high-traffic area.


Each day, right after dinner since everyone will already be together, each of us will jot down something we’re thankful for or have appreciated during the day and add it to our tree.  I’m hoping that, by the end of the month, we’ll have a tree full of leaves and hearts full of thankfulness.  I’m hoping, too, that we’ll see a change in our focus, from the negative to the positive.

Below you can see our tree. It’s not fancy, and it was easy to make! But hey, make your tree as awesome and decorative as you like! Or make it super simple. Do what works for your family. (To get instructions for making a Thankful Tree like ours, click this link to go to the simple tutorial on Only Passionate Curiosity.)


Would you care to join us? It’s more fun to do a challenge together, right? I would love to have your family join my family!

What if your kiddos don’t want to participate? Give them some ideas and make it a challenge!  Who can come up with not one but TWO things you’re thankful for today? Who can write a thankfulness poem? Maybe a nice haiku or an acrostic. Or maybe they’d rather draw a picture of what they’re thankful for than write about it. That’s ok too! If you have drama queens (or kings) in your home, allow them to make a video telling what they’re thankful for. Get creative and make it fun. Not only will you be working toward looking on the bright side, but you’ll also spend some time bonding as a family and hopefully laughing and having fun together.

And keep in mind that you don’t have to be thankful for something big like a new car. (Although I would love the chance to be thankful for a new car!!) You can be thankful (and teach your kids to be thankful) for simple things like a day with nice weather or a great book you just read. Or how about a cool breeze on a hot day? A clean corner of the house (even though the rest of the house is a complete wreck). Maybe even a kind word from a sibling. We need to learn to be thankful for the small, less obvious things as well as the big ones.


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Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 31 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three adult children. Hannah, age 27, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 25, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 19, was the last homeschool graduate. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow a garden every summer with limited success. (But she's learning!)

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  1. That is a wonderful idea!! I think we're gonna start that tomorrow, when my hubby gets home from work.

  2. I love this idea. We have done a thankfulness paper chain before, but the post its would keep it so much more contained. What a great way to set your mind on the right things this season!!!

  3. I really like this idea. I know a lot of our families do the thankful thing at the dinner table or continued list of thankful items on our blogs, but to have something up in the middle of my living room or kitchen as a daily visual reminder (for the whole family) would be fabulous. We, too often, forget just out blessed we are–even when we're living the dream lives compared to most around the world. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Where you at our house this morning?!?! I had just had it with the complaining and lack of gratitude displayed by my little darlings. And right before Thanksgiving no less!! We are going to start dong Thanksgiving projects this week, but I like your whole family, out in the open approach! Thank you!

  5. I love this idea. (And esp. love the idea of using Post-It notes for the leaves. So much easier than cutting them out!).

    The part of your post that really hit me, though, was your realizing that griping and nagging about the griping and bickering really doesn't work. Hmm. Reality check! I need to think about this one some more.

  6. I have been wanting to do this, too. I was going to do a turkey with no tail feathers, then add the feathers with our words of thanks written on them. A tree might give more space for more thanks, though. Great idea!

  7. We started our tree on the 1st and the idea is for each family member to write something everyday and then we will take the leaves off the tree and read them all again on Thanksgiving. We have ours hanging up in the kitchen. It is a great idea and fun to see what my kids want to put on their leaves.
    I've been posting about mine on Fridays as well (on my family blog not my homeschooling blog.)

  8. Earlier this year a friend of mine did something like this, but in her case they had a glass door & the kids all wrote with dry-erase markers the things they were thankful for. I loved the idea but I don't have a glass door & my brain was (apparently!) too full to come up with an alternative.
    This, I can do, so I'm totally gonna steal this idea as soon as I can get to a store that sells big ol' paper like that!

  9. What a fantastic idea!! We focus on thankfulness every day — is it odd that I have the urchins give me a "Yay of the Day" at bedtime? lol — but I love the visual of the tree. I think we are going to try this!

  10. this is a wonderful idea! I am over from OvercomingBusy.com. My children are a bit young for this, but my husband and I could certainly do this…what a wonderful way to bring us closer together in our marriage. Many thanks!

  11. I'm making a gratitude tree for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It's the first time I've done it, so I'd love any pointers from those of you who've tried it — do you like colored markers better than post-its? do you start it out with some examples to help get people thinking?

    I've been blogging about a Month of Thanksgiving, too, and I'm thankful I found you. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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