Have you been to a store lately? One look around tells you all you need to know. The holidays are upon us and this month is the time to reflect on thankfulness. The calendar sets aside one day in November that marks Thanksgiving.
It’s nice to spend the day with family and friends, enjoying good food, laughs and fun. Like many families, mine gets in a circle, holds hands and prays before the meal. I’m usually the one who says the prayer and I try to sum up our thanks quickly because I know mouths are watering and stomachs are ready, mine included. Besides, I can be long-winded so I’ve learned, and my family appreciates, when I’m short and sweet!
Seriously though, when it comes to being grateful it’s hard to sum it up into a few minutes or just before eating. The reality is that there are so many things to be thankful for, in spite of the fact that there is more than enough to give cause for concern. In fact, it’s easy to focus on everything that’s wrong, what we don’t have, how many mistakes we’ve made, what we wished we didn’t do or say … and on, and on, and on. But can I share something? There is always a reason to give thanks.
So here’s my challenge. Find one thing to be grateful for everyday. It will be easy to do this when everything is going well but the real challenge will come when someone is rude at the grocery store, or when parents get into a shouting match at a soccer game. I have first-hand knowledge of the latter and let me tell you, I was not thinking about thankfulness when I thought my son was the one who was shoved by an adult (yes, you read that correctly). Once the situation was diffused and we had an opportunity to talk it over, it became a teachable moment for my son and the other players. That was the moment of gratitude, which overtook the anger I felt in the moment.
Are you up for the challenge? Start today and the more we practice gratitude on a daily basis, the less dependent we become on the calendar to remind us to do so.