Sunday, November 4, 2012

Teaching Gratitude #2: Family Dinner {Unplugged}

As I write, we are approaching the end of Day 3 of the 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge initiated by Mari of Inspired by Family Magazine, a challenge that over 21 bloggers, like myself, have joined. 

On Day 1, I shared my plan for creating a Daily Practice of Gratitude through Thank You Post Cards. With just three days down, I can share that Mari is right - gratitude is contagious! Through comments, emails, personal message, etc., others are sharing what they are grateful for and many are heading out to buy post cards for Thank Yous. :) 
For Wild Thing, he understands that the post cards are being made for someone special in his life, for someone he cares about and loves. He is also having lots of fun with these post cards, which are perfect in terms of is current interest in letters and spelling. We have made cards for Ga-ma (AKA PJ), Uncle Thomas and Daddy.  

Having the Daily Gratitude Box sitting on the kitchen table is a physical reminder to live with gratitude. After all, it is easy (especially on difficult days) to focus on what we need more of (sleep, time, money). The gratitude box reminds me to focus on what I have: a healthy family, a home, food, the opportunity to spend time with my children (even if sometimes that time involves coaxing a baby back to sleep at 4 am).

As life would have it, this 21 Days of Gratitude experience is coinciding with a mutual decision by my husband and I to really prioritize family dinner. We had loosely done this some in the past, but this past week we both realized the true need for all of us to sit down together with no distractions and share a meal. 

Family Dinner and a desire to have a daily practice of gratitude go hand in hand - a hot meal on the dinner table cannot be taken for granted - as I well know from my efforts during Hunger Action Month (16 million kids in the U.S. struggle with hunger - No Kid Hungry). In thinking and reading and focusing on gratitude, I came across a song called Many Hands by Jody Kessler
On this plate There are many hands The hands that sowed the seeds And the hands that tilled the land, The hands that worked the harvest, and brought it to the stands. Yes on this plate are many hands. In this bowl Are sun and rain and air, The garden's soil and all the tiny creatures that live there. A delicate balance Of beings great and small. Yes in this bowl we have them all. In this food There are many souls. Some may be our family Who served it in our bowl. Some may be migrant workers Whom we will never know, And can't afford to buy the food they grow. In this room there are many hands. Let's join them all together In a circle if we can. And in this sacred silence Let there be gratitude For the many hearts and hands that made this food. For the many hearts and hands that made this food. 
Sharing a meal together as a family is valuable for so many reasons, I rank among them the opportunity to join hands and give thanks for that meal--engaging in a family practice of gratitude and modeling the choice to focus on what we have, rather than what we want.
Wild Thing took the photo used in this image.
Day 3: I am grateful for an amazing breakfast with my family this morning at one of our favorite restaurants (with a preschooler and baby that behaved pretty well all things considered). 

Day 4: I am grateful for Stacy at Kids Stuff World, who I share Day 4 of 21 with in the bloggy world and who, thankfully, motivated and inspired me to do more during September for Hunger Action Month than I had imagined when I innocently posted in a blog group that we should go orange. Most importantly, though, I am grateful for the friendship that grew out of that joint effort and for her support of my work as a blogger, filmmaker and mom. I love her thoughtful posts, especially today as she shares a great post about being grateful for teachers! Plus, the post shares more about how you can get involved.

join 21 Days of Gratitude - Mari has prompts for each of the 21 Days, so she makes it really easy to get involved. To see all of the Moms Fighting Hunger posts from Hunger Action Month and all the posts from the 21 Days of Gratitude challenge (plus more posts on the theme of gratitude), please follow my Be the Change Pinboard. Proud to share this post over at:
One Perfect Day

parents as teachers 

In related news...
Teaching Gratitude: Creating A Daily Practice
Teaching Compassion: Thanksgiving


In Season...

Guy Fawkes Day/Bonfire Night: Fall Holidays
Nature Painting/Autumn Tree Decorating


  1. That is such a great song and I love that you are prioritizing family dinners - we didn't do that when our girls were young and required so much help to eat but now that they are better at feeding themselves we have all started to eat together. It has been good for all of us.

  2. Family dinners are such a blessing! And so is intentional gratitude. I'm enjoying joining in and I will be posting on day 15!

  3. We try so hard to eat dinner together every night. I also think that's very important to our family. Thanks for linking up with the Afterschool Linkup!

  4. With 6 children to feed each night we do focus on propper family meals and it is something all my children are greateful for.

  5. Great idea to be with the family at meal time. Sometimes it is a little hard around hear with dad and mom having different schedules, but one of us is always at the table with the little ones. Thanks for sharing that wonderful song and for linking up at Mom's Library!

  6. Love this post! This is something we really strive to do even though it's difficult with my husband's soccer schedule. We've made it a priority even if it means we have to eat at 5:30! :)

  7. I am grateful that we can finally have family dinners together now that soccer season is over. And for an elastic food budget! Thanks for reminding me of the precious time that is dinner together!

  8. I am loving all of your gratitude posts. That song is so beautiful. I've started following your Be The Change board too. Family meal time is very special to us as well. Apart from story time at night, it is the one time of day we ensure that the whole family is together, the phones are off, the tv is off, we are just together.

  9. I'd love for you to share your family-friendly crafts and ideas at Monday Kid Corner at See you at the party!


  10. I am always grateful when my family get all sit down to share a meal and to actually have food to prepare that meal. Have a wonderful week. Your new follower, Darlene

  11. Really beautiful! Pinning it and sharing it!