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!)