By Saraswathy Lakshmivaraham
Parents spend a lot of time reminding their children to say please and thank you. “What do you say?” is one of those refrains we never thought we’d hear ourselves say…and yet, we say it all the time.
But what about the flip side? How often do we remind ourselves to express gratitude? Anyone lucky enough to have a much-adored preschooler running around the house has lots to be thankful for. Of course, said preschooler often tires a person out so much that it becomes difficult to remember exactly what it is we’re thankful for. But it’s worth remembering. After all, everyone says that gratitude and happiness are closely linked, and surely we want to model both.
So how can we give ourselves a little gratitude reminder, now and then?
Some suggest keeping a gratitude journal. That is, writing down two or three things every day for which you’re thankful. Some might find this forced, others might really benefit. Doesn’t hurt to give it a try….
I like the idea of expanding on “thanks” and making a point of telling people, including our kids, very specifically what it is that they’ve done that we appreciate. It gives them added pleasure, and us too.
Talking about beauty, comfort and other delights is a form of thankfulness. Sometimes speaking aloud an inner observation, such as, “I love the way the light comes through the windows in the afternoon,” is enough to remind us of how lucky we are to be in the world.
When all else fails, look into your child’s eyes for a full, unwavering minute. Gratitude doesn’t begin to cover it but will have to do for now. Hey, lucky stars out there: Thanks!