Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Grocery Store Gratitude

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?


isthis said...


emily said...

i am all about i want. i need to be better. i was marshmallow puff stuff too :) thanks for this... it's a good lesson to learn.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a poignant post. I can think of nothing better to get rid of the I Wants than with gratitude.
Our family has been having a gratitude practice for the last two years and the changes it has brought our amazing. Take Care.

Anonymous said...

This is SOOO true; having to instill the Thank You's in kids vs the I Wants. I have had plenty of these conversations lately with my kids and they are 13 and 8. They need to be reminded all the time to be thankful for what they have.


Nicole Baart said...

I love how you handled Truman in the grocery store. I'm totally going to borrow that line with my kids! Hope that's okay with you...

Blessings to you and your little grabby fingers! I have two "I Want" monsters of my own... said...

What a lovely, lovely mantra.

heather said...

lovely post. so, so lovely. turning "i want's" into "thank you's"

brilliant and sweet.

gardenmama said...

What a beautiful and mindful post. It is always good to have that gentle reminder. Each evening at dinner our conversation starts by me asking each family member "what was the best part of your day" and "what are you thankful for today" it is always something we look forward to this was a tradition carried over from my own childhood.

lexylou said...

Beautiful blog. Wonderful post too. Found you through Sasa's blog.
With three little ones 3 and under I feel every time I walk into the kitchen or just sit down to "relax" I get the I WANT....
To aid that I have been trying to instill better gratitude in the kids.
To help that every night before bed we light a candle and talk about what we are grateful for today what made us thankful for something or someone, it is amazing what they say and it is a great reflecting time for hubby and I too.

our little love nest said...

Love it!!! So agreeing with you. Sometimes we all need a little reminder to play the "thank you" game because the "I want" game seems to be built in our nature. Love that you are a FB friend now. Thanks for the add. xoxo

Jennifer said...

Thank YOU for this wonderful idea. We will be playing this game often in the future.

Anonymous said...

beautiful, thank you

Anonymous said...

i am thankful for an amazing nannying job that i enjoy so very much!
thank you for sharing this. it was good to hear. i need to get a tattoo as to constantly remind myself to be gratuitous instead of greedy. thanks!

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