Thursday, January 2

The Gift of Gratitude

If the past year taught us anything, it's that we live in a world of negativity.  It's pervasive and surrounds us from every direction, and it can really get under your skin.  But you have the choice to passively sit by and let it consume you, or work to focus on the good.  Obviously, since I used the word "work," the second option takes a little more energy.

Back in 2015, after watching the primaries, and knowing that 2016 was only going to get a lot worse because of that pesky election-thing, I made the conscious decision to teach my children how to focus on the good, no matter how small, in the midst of the bad.  And, never one to let me down, our lives in 2016 had a lot of bad in them.  I think they were just trying to help me focus on making this a true learning experience!

Thus, the "Friday Box" was born.  Every Friday, no matter where we happened to be, the boys took a slip of paper and wrote down the best thing (or things) to happen that week.  It could be something as simple as a special lunch out, or a big thing like a fun experience at overnight camp.  Faithfully, every Friday, they complied, until it became second nature.

On the last Friday of the year, we open up the boxes and read the papers aloud, remembering the good times from the year.  While a couple of "we had no school" slip through, the vast majority of them are about little things, and good times, and we usually spend an hour or two just reminiscing about the good times we had experienced in the past year.  

Gratitude is like a muscle.  The more we flex it, the stronger it becomes.  When we first started Friday boxes, it was very difficult to find anything good on some weeks.  The longer we kept at, the easier it became to pinpoint the good - even the small things, especially the small things! - each week.  To be able to find the good in any situation is a gift, and one that we must give our children.  It will help them to weather the stormy seas...

It's human nature for most to remember the bad more vividly than the good - it's how we evolved to make sure we stayed safe by remembering those negative experiences vividly so that we could avoid them in the future.

Giggles and laughter, smiles all around...those are the things that I want to remember.  Will you start the Friday Box tradition at your house?

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