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Expect Nothing. Appreciate Everything.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday! It may sound cheesy, but I really do love to give thanks. I feel incredibly blessed in my life and enjoy passing sincere gratitude forward, so celebrating an entire day to this concept brings me joy.

I believe my kids know gratitude. It may not always be sincere, with my insistent prompts to be gracious over life’s daily gifts, but it’s how I hope to instill the feeling of gratitude. And while their “thank yous” for a snack or finding their shoes are appreciated, the ones that melt my heart are the totally random acts of love like “thank you for being a good mommy” or “reading a billion books.” The more I live my life from a place of gratitude, the more I reflect the joy of giving gratitude.

This time of year also reminds me to reflect on how to continue this lesson at home. The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parenting, by Deepok Chopra, encourages parents to activate their family by asking questions or participating in an activity. I recently read this and highly recommend it. If you don’t have the time to read, then this month I would invite you to practice intentional gratitude. Maybe pick one day or a certain time everyday to share with your children a brief ritual of gratitude.

  • Invite your child to give something to someone … a hug, artwork, a kind word.
  • Inspire him/her by giving someone in their life appreciation with words, or actions.
  • Create a gratitude jar together.
  • Make and bring homemade cookies to a friend/neighbor.
  • Go through your clothes and toys that you no longer use. Donate the ones in great shape to a family in need, shelter for children, or church that collects items for families.
  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood or local park.
  • Let another person go first in line.
  • Share a toy with a friend.

I am so excited to be able to influence my children from a young age how beneficial it is to live a life of gratitude. I certainly know that my life is infinitely better when I look for the good and rejoice in the gratitude and hope these tips are useful in your home!