By Megan Vincent
“Did you say Thank You?”, are words that come out of my mouth often as I try to ensure I instill good manners into my children. Hoping, that when they are at school or away from my husband and I, they are on their best behavior. The words “Thank You” can seem so second nature or automated sometimes. I even catch myself saying “Thank You” to Alexa after she turns on my requested playlist. It becomes an unconscious act.
As we fall into a season where many of us tend to “give thanks” for the things we have, I ponder on how myself, and my family, give thanks, not just during this time of year, but all year round. In a world where we are able to seek instant gratification through social media and technology (Amazon, Alexa, Google), how do we teach our children, and ourselves, how to be thankful and show appreciation. Well, I don’t have silver bullet answer, but I can share with you what I, and my family, continue to strive for throughout the year.
Aside from prayer, which is a practice my family and I have as part of our awareness to giving thanks for all that we have, we try to talk about “Highs and Lows” at either the dinner table or in car ride going somewhere. What was your High, something great, fun or that you were proud of for the day. Then, what was your Low, something that was challenging, made you sad or frustrated, or you wish could have happened differently. This allows us to catch up on the day’s events, in a quick snapshot, and then opens up for discussion.
I have to be honest, there are days when it is hard to think of a “High”, but that is where the appreciation comes and the challenge to dig deep. It doesn’t have to be a huge event or notable gesture but could be the simple fact that it was a sunny day and I got to step outside to enjoy the sunshine, if even for a few minutes, to feel the warmth on my face. It could be the fact that my kids did their homework without me asking 10 times. While this may seem little, it is the small things we need to look for to say “Thank You”. Thank you to my kids for doing such a great job working on their homework. Thank you to my husband, for cleaning the dishes (something I ask him to do every evening after dinner, but don’t always say thank you). Thank you to one of my team members for providing me a quick answer on something I really needed, and their quick response helped to make my job that much easier. Thank you to a teacher, who made my son’s day that much better, by easing his anxiety about a subject at hand.
As we look at the little things in life, or the tasks that are “expected” to be done by others, how do we make a conscious effort to show gratitude to someone? How do we create that culture of gratitude and exemplify it for our children and family? My goal, this season and as we move into the new year, is to consciously say “Thank You” to someone each day and encourage my family to find ways to do the same. With that simple task, I hope my family and I can make a difference in creating a more grateful and positive world. Maybe catch someone off guard with a word of appreciation when they least expect it. Instead of asking my family about “Highs and Lows” each day, the question will be “Who did you thank today?”
Thank you, for letting me share my thoughts with you today!