I have been developing a habit with my kids over the last few years of ‘doing our thankfuls’ each day. Sometimes this is in the morning on the way to school, and sometimes in the evening just before bed. It’s fascinating to see what they come up with sometimes. And my 3 year old could go for hours. It was something I began to try and help them be people who see the good things in life and are thankful for even the smallest of things, and not whinging whiney people.
And don’t you worry, the kids don’t let Dave or I get away with not doing our thankfuls. It is a practice I am convinced we should all become better at. I have found that once I get going, there is so much to be thankful for. So SO SOOOOO much.
One thing that I will never forget is hearing a friend who travels a lot talk of being asked the questions nearly daily “How did you sleep last night?”. At this stage in their world, the answer was generally “Not very well, but that’s ok, I get to have another shot at it tonight.”
I have recalled that many a time over the last 7 years of broken sleep, and I will no doubt continue to recall that for years to come! What I love about it is the shift in perspective. There is a choice to make: I can either get grumpy about the fact that I didn’t get much sleep last night and let it ruin my day OR I can choose to view it from the perspective that I can’t change last night, tonight is a new night and I get another chance, let’s get on and enjoy today (even if it is with a cup or two of coffee!). I make the choice to be thankful and life is simply so much more enjoyable.
I heard a story a few weeks back of someone who decided to spend their day being thankful to their Creator. So they began in the morning with some simple yet important things – thank you for the sunshine, thank you for the rain, thank you for breath, thank you for my body… Now this person is a doctor, and once they started on the body, they spent the remainder of the day there, being thankful for even the finest smallest functions and processes that occur within the body. Now I’m no doctor, but having experienced the growth of a human baby inside me four times, I am amazed at the way the body works and functions, without me doing a thing. There is so much to be thankful for, just in the way we live and move and breath each and every day.
I was out running the other day and decided to try this and be thankful for a variety of things for the length of my run (7.5km this particular day). I began with the wind and how it brings refreshing, how it shifts and changes the shapes and forms of the clouds. How the wind brings the rain and how it distributes the pollen from the flowers so that more flowers grow. From there I spent most of the remaining time on how my body uses the wind in my lungs to get oxygen to my muscles through my blood so that my legs can keep moving and actually get me to the end of my run! I was thankful for legs that work and work well that I can run and feel the wind through my hair. I was never short of things to be thankful for. I will never be short of things to be thankful for, no matter what happens in life. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
So, I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to take on the thankfulness project. Especially as we come into the end of the year and the Christmas season, what have you to be thankful for. Find at least 5 things each day and share them with someone. Be it your partner, your bestie, your colleagues, your kids, your parents, a stranger (I’m thankful for the way you scan my groceries and help me get this all important task done…). Think outside the box, far and wide. Becoming a person of thankfulness will lighten your load and lift your heart as you see things from a fresh and new perspective.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
“Gratitude is the real treasure God wants us to find, because it isn’t the pot of gold but the rainbow that colors our world.”
Richelle E. Goodrich