In our family we try to talk about what we are grateful for quite often. One of the traditions I love is simply lighting a candle at dinner time and going around in a circle so everyone can say what they are grateful for.
My sons are 2 and 5 years old, and a candle seems to have a magic effect on them. Just staring into its light and watching the flame flicker adds a sense of peace and awe to our dinner table. They take turns blowing the candle out, or sometimes we let them do it at the same time. It has been so fun to see what they are grateful for, too, especially as they mature.
From mommy, daddy, favorite foods, watching a movie, or having a toy, it seems that the habit of discussing gratitude has deepened their understanding of this important concept. When mom and dad share what they are grateful for, we get to talk about deeper concepts such as friendship, having a community, or being healthy.
I believe gratitude is such an important part of being a joyful person. I have found that my life goes in cycles of periods that seem difficult and others that seem to flow a bit easier. Being grateful in both stages of the cycle has been crucial for my emotional health. When I can focus on the positives and remember what I do have instead of what I don’t, my days are a lot happier.
I recently shared a post on my blog which discussed how moms can change their perspective of daily occurrences (like dishes and laundry) to things they can be grateful for. You can see it here. I also collected ten activities we will be using in our home to learn about gratitude, which you can read about here.
Chelsea Lee Smith is the mother of two boys and blogs at Moments A Day sharing activities, ideas, and resources for families to connect, build character, and make a difference. She believes in using small moments throughout the day to help children learn how to use their head, heart, and hands to make the world a better place. She has many character building resources available from her website, including her recently released ebook Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun.