It’s a never ending balancing game when there are several generations living in the one house. Trying to blend our shifting values with those of teenagers isn’t always easy, and add to that the times my mum decides to visit and stay for a week…it becomes a melting pot of opinions. We all have moments of moaning about first world problems, and often, when you have children (especially teenagers!) their complaints about the little things can become a parenting mirror. Well, that’s true for me. I worry about the people I’m sending into the world. Are they too selfish? Are they spoilt? How will they cope with the big problems if they can’t cope with a lack of internet connection? Of course, I realise I’m being ridiculous. They’re good people, and I’m doing the best I can to contribute to their development. I’m very proud of them. However, as I am aging my values are shifting and the experiences of my generation are becoming vastly different to the younger cohort. How do we find middle ground – to allow them to flourish with their own beliefs, yet remain open to listening to our views?
One thing I realised was that regardless of our values, we all have something to be grateful for. Gratitude is the common denominator and a great leveller. When things go wrong, every single one of us can find something to be grateful for. We have a Gratitude Book at our house, and it has become one of our family rituals. When we have an evening where we can all sit together at the table for dinner (this doesn’t happen every night!) we grab the Gratitude Book and each person writes one thing they are grateful for from the day. They then share their point with the rest of us so we can talk about it.
It took a while for the boys to get their head around the idea, but nowadays, well over a year later, it has become a great way for all of us to simply notice the little things that make life better each day, and occassionally the big things too. It certainly helps to remind all of us about what’s really important. It has become an excellent record of all the things we encounter in our lives that make a difference. We have so many completed pages in our book now that it’s lovely to take some time to read over the pages and think about the things that have made a difference for each of us. I think we all get a kick out of those occassions where we have a guest for dinner, they join in our ritual and then discover they have been mentioned previously!
Why has gratitude become the new black?
1. It helps us to focus on what we have, rather than what we’re missing.
2. It helps us to make what we have feel like that’s enough.
3. It creates a positive, uplifting mood that helps to erase the stressors of the day.
4. It’s impossible to feel gratitude and pain at the same time. Only one emotion can fill the space at any given time.
5. It’s an experience we can all share, regardless of age or values. Gratitude is a connector.
Practising gratitude comes in many forms. For us it is our family book, for others it is prayer; a morning habit before getting out of bed; or during moments of crisis. It really doesn’t matter when or how we feel grateful, just that we realise how much we have to be grateful for. Have a superb week everyone xx