“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” – Melody Beattie

This quote has been in the forefront of my mind as we have focused on gratitude this week. We spend so much of our time consumed with what comes next; our next event, our next goal, our next achievement we often lose the enjoyment of the moment.

I am the first to admit that mindfulness is not easy. In a mindfulness activity that involved the thoughtful consumption of a lindt ball, mine was gone in well less than 60 seconds. Whilst others were listening to the rustle of the packaging and inhaling the chocolatey aroma I was scarfing mine down – whoops! (Fiona on the other hand nailed this activity!)

Gratitude requires us to slow down and appreciate what we have in the here and the now. The benefits of gratitude are social, emotional, physical and mental. These benefits are not just to the individual practicing gratitude but also to the recipients of the gratitude. Sounds like pretty good stuff!

Gratitude helps our children develop strong relationships, a culture of resilience and recognition that it takes effort to achieve. By recognising the effort and being grateful for it you are creating a culture of recognition of the effort of others, a culture that is rarely self-centred.

How can we begin to build this culture in our families?

  • Slow down and savour experiences and events – model being in the moment and celebrating small achievements and day to day events (and the occasional lindt ball)

  • Say Thank you – both verbal and written thanks. Expand on what you are grateful for name the behaviours and outcomes.

  • Use the language of Gratitude- Include a WWW (What went well?) as part of your dinner table conversation.

Keep a gratitude journal, as family or an individual

  • Volunteer – develop an awareness of your place and space within the community by donating your time and/or items to a charitable group that means something to your family. It could be donating toys and clothes to a local refuge or volunteering your time for a charity

– give the gift of your time. Without a doubt the highlight of our parent/child workshops is the one-on-one parent/child time. Time with your child is the best gift you can give them, support them to value time together over material gifts.

Thanks for reading! Please let us know how you practice gratitude in your family.