Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a child looks like? When you think about it, how would you like to wake up and spend a day following a set of directives? You don’t know where you are going or what is going happen next. “Time to get up”, says Mom. “Get your clothes on and come down for breakfast”. “Hurry, we have to get to school”.
Now they are in the car and depending on their age, they have a destination in mind. They know about how long it takes to drive to school, so for a moment they know what is going to happen next. They don’t know why they need to go to school or why you need to go to work. They don’t have any conception of the financial needs of a family or why parents need to work. They just move forward to the next thing someone tells them to do.
So in this state of mind, how can we help children connect to those around them and to have an appreciation of what they have and what people do for them? One idea is to add a practice of gratitude to your evening or bedtime routine. In this practice you just spend some time as a family telling each other what you feel grateful for. You might start by saying that you feel grateful for each other. You might say how grateful you feel that the family all worked together to clean up after dinner. You might say that you feel grateful that it was a sunny day. Believe me, as you start this practice it becomes so easy to begin to see how much you are grateful for each day. Let the children say what they feel grateful for. In the beginning what they say might be silly or nonsensical, but you can just acknowledge their contribution. If this practice becomes a nightly routine it will grow in its scope and meaning.
When people engage in this daily gratitude practice they grow in their sensitivity of all that happens around them. It just enriches your life and helps you see the great part of everyday rather than focusing on the stresses or challenges that you faced. It truly changes the perspective on everything that happens to you. When you and your children go to bed, your mind is full of all that was good in your day. I have been using this practice for a long time now, and it is really helps me to keep my thinking on a positive road. Be sure to add a positive thought about your spouse and each of your children each and every day.
I’d like to challenge you to a 30 day test. If you, as a family, try this for 30 days I would really like to hear from you at the end of May about what changes you saw happening in yourself and your children. I think you will love the effects.