Monday, November 12, 2012

Teaching Gratitude #3: Mama Learns {21 Days of Gratitude}

Today marks, basically, the midway point of 21 Days of Gratitude. Not only am I teaching gratitude to my son, but I am also learning about gratitude - particularly about the value of creating a daily practice of gratitude. On this journey, it is not only my boys who are growing, learning and reading along the way -- Mama is too!

Slowing down to create a post card of gratitude with Wild Thing, enjoy a meal as a family, take note for myself personally what I am grateful for that day, or reflect on writing prompts from Awesomely Awake through her Abundant Mama Project -- all of these actions contribute to my ability to be mindful, open and tuned into my family. I appreciate them. I notice the kindness of others. I take time to pay it forward. It shifts the paradigm just a tad, just enough. 

A gratitude focus engages me in the Holiday season in a different way -- it helps me to be stress free as I focus on the reality that being together as a family is an abundant gift, the rest of it will sort itself out. It fosters in me renewed energy about being engaged in our community this Thanksgiving and about setting up a focus in December on presence rather than presents (my 12 Days of Christmas - Presence Packet should be coming soon!!). Gratitude begets gratitude, and that is a good thing. 

At this midway point, I wanted to share just a few of the many other great posts I have seen as part of this project: Gratitude through Giving from The Iowa Farmers Wife, Gratitude Journal for Kids from Lasso the Moon, Pragmatic Mom with a list of Thanksgiving/Gratitude books for kids, a touching post from Connecting Family and Seoul about adoption, and more (some shared below and ALL are pinned on my Be the Change Pinboard focused on gratitude this month). I also wanted to take this opportunity, halfway through, to respond to  prompts 1-11 (of 21) that Mari provided when she initiated 21 Days of Gratitude:

1. A friend - I am grateful to have many wonderful friends in my life. Here, I will select Jessica who was my FIRST FRIEND EVER! (before we were even 2). I love the woman she has become and cherish that we still call each other every year for birthdays and celebrate each other as we tackle new challenges in life.

2. Physical Health - Reminded of this as I reflected on the challenging birth of Wild Thing recently. Despite that struggle and scare, I am grateful that he is a very healthy 3 year old and that I am a very healthy mama too. 

3. Family member - ALL of them. (I simply refuse to pick). In Lieu of Preschool writes about gratitude and her grandparents, and Teach Preschool shares about gratitude from her perspective as a grandma.

4. A Teacher - I am grateful, like on #1, that I have had many wonderful teachers in my life, but have to select here Ann Chamlee. She was my piano teacher and taught me so much more than piano. I, honestly, still think of her almost everyday. Stacy of KSW did a whole post focused on gratitude for teachers.

5. A Time of Day - Nap time/Quiet afternoons when the boys get all snuggly and I can, sometimes, squeeze in some reading or yoga. 

6. An emotion - Joy. My favorite emotion since having kids. There is nothing better than the pure joy of a child.

7. A Freedom - I am grateful that I have the freedom to share my life with whom I choose. In a different time, our ethnicities/racial backgrounds would have kept us a part. Domestique Goddess writes about this too, from a bit of a difference perspective.

8. A skill/talent you possess - Circle back to #4 - being able to play the piano. Though I may not do it daily anymore (I wish!), it is akin to breathing for me in how sacred and valuable I consider this to be for me to express myself and be at peace with the world. Troubles and cares melt away when I play. Or how about gratitude for reading like Coffee Cups and Crayons?

9. A coworker/classmate - My hubby is my co-worker on a daily basis, so this one is easy.

10. A restaurant - Padaro Beach Grill in Carpinteria - Seriously, it is next to the ocean, has a giant sandbox for kids to play in and picnic tables scattered around it on beautiful lush grass. Date night-ish without the cost of a babysitter and with the joy of happy kids playing nearby.

11. Physical Activity you can do - I really enjoy the meditative practice of running, even if lately I am not doing much of it.  

What are you grateful for today? Are you participating in a daily gratitude practice this month? Will you continue it beyond Thanksgiving?  

Please share in the comments or on The Good Long Road FB page. 

Teaching Gratitude #1 and #2:
Thank You Post Cards
Family Dinners

In Season:
Autumn Nature Art
Diwali and Other Fall Holidays Around the World


  1. I can't wait to read about your Dec on presence. ~thx

  2. Fantastic post Jennifer! Really. I love to look at this through everyone's perspective!

  3. This was such an awesome post Jennifer! And I love how you incorporated all of the other posts that have gone up so far. I'm going to read about your birth of Wild Thing. So glad you both are healthy!

  4. Fantastic post!

    "A gratitude focus engages me in the Holiday season in a different way -- it helps me to be stress free as I focus on the reality that being together as a family is an abundant gift, the rest of it will sort itself out."

    LOVE that!

  5. What a wonderful post!! I love all of your gratitude ideas. Thank you for sharing at Happy Family Times!

  6. I do love this post and all the reasons you've listed to be grateful. I especially like that you highlight we as adults are also learning, because I certainly feel that way.

    Today, I posted about kids writing Thank You notes to show gratitude and I thought I'd share! I hope you like it.