We were in the grocery store last night, and I was holding Truman. He was whining to me “I want chippies.... I want more bananas.... I want those...”(pointing at the white puffy marshmallows).
After saying, “Not today, honey” about a thousand times. I looked him square in the eye and said, “I don’t want to play the I WANT game. I think we should play the Thank You game.”
Thank you for the milk in the cart. Thank you for buying juice. Thank you for buying bread and eggs. Thank you for feeding me. Thank you for holding me in line, even if I’m almost 40 pounds.
And after a tea-time talk with a dear friend yesterday afternoon. I realized that no matter how well we raise our children (hers in high school, now) they develop a case of the I WANTs. And that case has to be treated and groomed out of them, repeatedly— this is a life long lesson, even as adults. We need a gentle reminding that other people in the world don’t get everything we have. We are not comparatively poor, but comparatively rich to the rest of the nation and the world. And a sense of gratitude, not entitlement should envelop us, but it doesn’t. Not for me anyway.
I want to instill in my kids the gratefulness of heart and gratitude of spirit. How do we go about doing that when— especially around Christmas time— when we’re receiving all kinds of presents and then the season ends. We still have that lingering I WANT hanging around.
What if I started my day with a simple mantra, “Thank You for this day?”
A year ago, Eric and I started to end our days with a question, posed sometimes in darkness right before we turn over to sleep. What is your gratitude for today?
What a centering question. We now bring up instances in our days that made it worth living. Yesterdays was simple for me. A talk with a good friend, while our children played in front of us. His was similar, for his friends and the pervasive sense of belonging and home we have now. Both simple and profound blessings.
What was your gratitude for today, what are you grateful for? Will you join me in turning our I WANTs into Thank Yous?
*Image from The Marquette Educator