Grateful Hearts, Appreciating Impact

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Young children are actively taught to “say Please” and “say Thank you.” For that matter, older children and teens may be reminded to use these good manners! 🙏But what does it mean to live a life of thankfulness?

There is a wide gap between merely saying words and actively living a grateful life. If you look at the most generous and caring people you know, they are also probably the most appreciative. People who are content with what they have are often ready to share.

Here are three simple ways to grow the practice of thankful living. For change-maker families, these are easy ways to further cultivate a habit of “sharing is caring.”

“Thanksgiving creates abundance.” Ann Voskamp

1. Be Thankful

For many of us, the word “thanksgiving” is directly associated with a holiday and traditions. A bountiful harvest. A time for reflection and giving thanks to God for the blessings of life. A time of abundance.

Being thankful and giving thanks should not be left to once a year. Take a family tradition from Thanksgiving and add it to your dinner time this week. ✨In our home we take turns and tell what we are thankful for. It’s a special time for listening to family members and personal reflection.

For young children, taking the time to reflect and acknowledge what they are thankful for is a great way to start a mindset of thankfulness. ✨In this moment, what evokes feelings and thoughts of thankfulness? ✨ Find out what makes this special?

✨✨At the end of this post is a PDF you can download. The first page is a sheet for drawing or written reflections for “I’m so thankful…” Have a conversation about this “thankful” reflection. What can you learn about each other and yourselves by what you are thankful for/about?

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire.

2. Show Appreciation

The word “appreciate” is rich with meanings. According to Oxford dictionaries the first definition is: recognize the full worth of and be grateful for (something). The third definition is: rise in value or price.

✨Have a conversation around how you take care of things you appreciate. ✨What does is look like to appreciate people? ✨What does this quote mean to you? “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well,” Voltaire.

✨✨At the end of this post is a PDF you can download. The second page has the prompt “This week I appreciate.” As a family, spend a week where each person reflects on what or who they appreciate. You can make note of why you appreciate him or her. Or, you can write down what you do to demonstrate your appreciation. Or, you can make note of the value or worth that that person brings to your life. At the end of the week share your thoughts and celebrate the abundance of impact.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. Be Grateful

For years positive psychology has highlighted the positive impact from keeping a gratitude journal. The daily habit of being grateful–and seeking out things to be grateful for–actually has benefits to well-being and mental health.

✨An attitude of gratitude can be developed, and why not grow together as a family? ✨Spend a month looking for and noting what you are grateful for. ✨ Discuss the quote, “What we see mainly depends of what we look for,” John Lubbock, and how this can inspire your 31 Days of Gratitude.

✨✨At the end of this post is a PDF you can download. The third page is a blank calendar of 31 Days of Gratitude. You can make a copy for each person in your family, or use it as a collective gratitude journal for the month. At the end of the month, have a celebration for the many blessings and things that you might have taken for granted. How did your journey of gratitude impact your behavior and choices? What is the role of gratitude in your change-maker family?

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