I couldn’t let this year end without revisiting the theme of gratitude, which became an important focus this year for my family, for camp, and for me personally. While I have some free time over this holiday week, I want to refocus on gratitude and rededicate myself to some of my own gratitude practices, which have been lagging over these past few months. I love the example of the 365grateful.com video (below) which many people have copied as their own gratitude practice.
Here’s a quick recap of my “year of gratitude”: In January, I read the book 1000 Gifts by Anna Voskamp and subsequently downloaded her app of the same name for my iphone. In February, I spoke to Christine Carter about her training for our camp staff, and we settled on gratitude as her topic. In March, we made gratitude journals as a family activity, which we used sporadically in April and May. In June, we kicked off our summer of gratitude at camp with Christine’s training. July and August were filled with gratitude practices at camp like sharing things we are grateful for at our nightly campfires. A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed my Life by John Kralik was my September read. In October, I read the book How Children Succeed (Paul Tough) and learned that gratitude is one of the seven most important qualities we can instill in our children to help them succeed in life. So, as you can see, this gratitude theme just kept popping up over and over for me this year!
But, alas, despite all this reading and talk about gratitude, I haven’t been successful in maintaining all the many gratitude habits I started in 2012. In January, I enthusiastically downloaded the 1000 Gifts app and started keeping track of my daily gifts, but, as happens with many of my projects, the early enthusiasm wore off and I, unfortunately, stopped keeping track after a few weeks. Now seeing the app on my phone is just a reminder of my failure to get to 1000. I’m stuck at 136. Each time I whisk over the app on my way to the weather app, I’m reminded of my failure to count 1000 gifts. The journals we so carefully crafted in March are gathering dust on the hutch in the dining room. But, rather than beat myself over my lack of follow through, I’m resolving this week to regroup and focus on a simple, realistic plan for keeping gratitude in my daily life in 2013.
“Want happy kids? You go first,” Carter says in her book Raising Happiness. Applying her statement to gratitude, since it applies to all the qualities we model for our kids, I say, “If I want grateful kids, I need to go first.” And I’m enlisting some help by taking the free 21-day class Carter is offering starting January 1 called “Cracking the Habit Code”.
Creative Ways for Kids to Write Thank Yous
I love these ideas for having kids express gratitude (other than just writing notes!)
Give Your Kids the Gift of Gratitude
Christine Carter Gratitude Links (blog posts, podcasts)
Thank you for reading!