Some days it’s hard to feel grateful. It’s much easier to focus on what went wrong:
- You wake up to the clock blinking 12:00 over and over, and jump out of bed wondering how late it really is. (Late enough that the kids will NOT be taking the bus this morning.)
- Your four-year-old decides to “help” with breakfast, dropping all the eggs on the floor, so you end up eating microwave oatmeal. Again.
- The ice on the car was an inch thick and you couldn’t find the good scraper, so it took a half an hour to clear the windows. The kids, who sat inside the car jabbing and making faces at each other while you worked up a sweat in the 20° weather, were not happy that they were late for school–and made sure you knew it. While their complaints filled the air, you suddenly remembered that there is a bottle of de-icer in the garage.
- After dropping the kids off, you make a quick trip to the store. After standing in line for 20 minutes the one person ahead of you finally finishes up. Then you realize that you left your purse at home.
Our family has a tradition of decorating a window or door with Thankful Leaves each November. We start by cutting out a number of construction paper leaves, and putting them in a basket near the door, along with a pen or pencil.
Each day of the month, each person in the family takes a leaf and writes on it something that he or she is grateful for. (Pre-writers can either draw a picture, or ask someone older to write it for them.) Then we either tape them to the window with clear tape, or use poster putty to stick them on the door. Family members know that they can add more leaves to the door at any time, as long as each leaf has something written on it.
It’s fun to watch the pile of leaves grow. Even better, is watching the attitudes change. Knowing that you will be writing down something you’re thankful for every day somehow gets you in the mode of thinking all during the day about what you want to write next, so you’re more aware of your blessings.
The electricity went out last night?
Bummer. Have you ever gone a whole week without electricity? A month? How about a lifetime? Electricity is one thing to be grateful for–one thing that we take so much for granted, that when it’s gone, even temporarily, we somehow feel that life is out to get us and forget how lucky we were to have it to begin with.
The car was covered in ice.
You own a car? And you not only know how to drive, but are physically able to do so? If you don’t think that’s something to be grateful for, try walking or riding your bike to school or work in that icy weather, or having to depend on others for rides every time you go anywhere, and you might just change your mind.
The eggs were ruined.
But you still got to eat. Right? Write “food” on your next Thankful Leaf.
We all have bad days. But we all, every one of us, have good things in our lives as well. I’m not suggesting that you should never grumble or complain when things go wrong (I’d be a hypocrite if I did!). But we can all be a little more grateful for the good in our lives.
I am grateful for you, my readers, and for my dear friends and family. And I wish you all a very Happy (and thankful) Thanksgiving!