I grew up in a very conservative, very Christian home.
I learned good morals, good values and most of all, to praise God for the gifts I’ve been given.
Although an arguably limiting doctrine, it was a good base for me use to explore who I am and what I really believe in.
As an adult, while I no longer really feel connected spiritually to any one particular thing or being, nor identify with any one religion strongly, I do still believe truly and fully in a divine presence, whatever one may call it.
I’m teaching my kids about God, and being spiritual, recognizing that there is something more powerful than us at work in the universe, and how to manage and share our energy and the vibrations we send out as a result.
Mindfulness, altruism, and humble appreciation; in sum, what I’m doing is cultivating an attitude of gratitude in and beyond my household.
While this is a set of daily habits, attitudes, beliefs and actions, it’s also a part of a family routine we engage each evening we are together.
Every night, after I read to my children we have family prayers. We say the same few words in the beginning, thanking God for our day, for our gifts, asking for continued grace and wisdom, and then we each say three special things. Three things that allow us to stay in the loop with what’s going on in our hearts and minds, to learn how we can help one another and others, and to fill up with recognition and appreciation for our lives.
Each of us takes a turn saying:
- One thing for which we are grateful for from the day.
- One thing for which we personally would like help the next day or in the coming week.
- One thing for which we would like to help someone else with, or with which someone else could use assistance, love, presence etc…
Some nights, this looks like me being grateful for new work that has been offered to me, asking for help with patience and productivity the next day, and to send some peace to a friend who is struggling with a big decision.
Other days it is my daughter being grateful for new experiences, asking for help with not getting so distracted during class, and praying for a new classmate who doesn’t have many friends yet.
Sometimes, it’s a basic “I’m thankful for my friends. I would like help sleeping all night, and I would like my friends and family to have a good day tomorrow” from my son.
There isn’t a right or better list; there is simply the act of expressing thanks, being honest about where we could use assistance, and considering needs beyond our own.
To me, this is living spiritually, the way I connect with my kids, with my friends, my family, and my community. Having an attitude of gratitude fills us up so that we can go forth and share and shine that light with our world.
Today, I ask you—for what are you grateful? What can you use help with? Who else could use a little love and support?
From our little family, today our wish for you is that you may you shine bright for yourself and others, and that we’ll all be a little more thankful, a little more generous and a lot more full inside.
Author: Michelle Sweezey
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Leland Franciso/Flickr