November is National Gratitude Month. Why not have a Giving-Thanks-Off in the days leading up to Turkey Day? We started one in August –– not because we are keenly aware of our blessings everyday –– but because our children returned from a costly week of summer camp with attitudes (not ones of gratitude, mind you.)
Out came the colored construction paper so that each family member –– Mom and Dad included –– could have a designated color. Out came the scissors and oversized mason jar I normally use for tea. Any jar or vessel will work; just make sure it’s clear to see progress (or lack thereof as motivation.) And out came much of the negativity floating around our household, along with all that dirt and stinky laundry from camp.
The rules are simple:
– Only one entry per day, per person.
– Entries cannot be generic and must be related to a specific experience that day.
– No retroactive entries.
– The family member with the most legit entries prior to Thanksgiving day wins.
– Prize = Winning family member gets to decide how we spend one weekend day together, start to finish, with a budget limit of $100.
We are now four months in, and we still haven’t reached the top. That’s okay though. The point is not perfection. It is to remember to pause and express gratitude when it strikes us. Here are a couple that I pulled out this morning for a sneak peek (We’ll read all of them over Thanksgiving.)
My son is the red, and my daughter is the yellow (translation: “I have a great, awesome, loving, sweet, passionate teacher.”) These are things they never said to me directly on those particular days. I’m thrilled to see my middle schooler knows he has support during a trying time for adolescents, and I can’t wait to share my little girl’s sentiment with her teacher this month.
I’m eager to read the rest over a belly full of green bean casserole and apple pie. I get the feeling we’ll want to leave that jar sitting right where it is for Thanksgiving 2022, and I’ll be grateful for that.
Fun Fact! The Mayo Clinic reports that intentional, regular recognition of gratitude has mental and physical health benefits. Dr. Amit Sood says, “Indeed, counting your blessings each day has been shown to significantly increase your happiness — and your physical health. In addition to helping you get more sleep, practicing gratitude can boost your immunity and decrease your risk of disease.” Interested? Learn more about the Mayo Clinic Health System’s virtual, free gratitude challenge.