As much as I love Christmas, right now I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving. It’s a whole season of its own. And in that spirit, I like to reflect during the whole month about things and people that I am thankful for. Some people have a thing that they list each day in November that they are thankful for, so that the whole month is about gratitude.
What if we took this a step further and showed the gratitude clearly to others?
This year, I am going to sit down with my kids and brainstorm different people and experiences that we are thankful for. Then we are going to decide how we can show that gratitude. Maybe it is making a card, drawing a picture, baking cookies, sending a text, or giving that person a hug and telling them we are thankful for them. Because I can think of a whole list of people I am thankful for, but if I don’t tell them, how will they know? I have read articles about how gratitude can rewire the brain. When we look for things and people to be grateful for, we are likely to find them all throughout the day. And this also reminds me family and friends who I am grateful for, even though I don’t see every day because they live in other cities or states. But they are still close by in my heart and mind, and just a text or a call away.
This isn’t meant to add to my to-do list, but as a way to show thankfulness in a concrete way. I also want my boys to have a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude all year. In a culture where it is so easy to spend more time making a wish list of presents we want, or to want information and possessions instantly, focusing on thankfulness shifts the focus from ourselves to others.