Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. I always surround myself with family and loved ones, and usually oodles of great food. I am hopeful that this Thanksgiving you and yours find ways to practice gratitude. I am of the mind that gratitude is a practice and not an act. Like a muscle, it is something we can build up by exercising. And as we build up our gratitude muscle, it is a virtuous cycle of feeling better and making others feel better. It helps steel us for times that are challenging and helps make each day a little better.
Here are some of the practices I am fond of in case you are trying to add some ideas to your family's toolkit:
- write a thank you note together. At the last meeting of the administrative team, I handed each administrator a thank you note, envelope, and a stamp, and had them write a thank you note to someone in their life that they cared about. It was a boost to all of us who wrote, and we hope a boost on all of those who received.
- At the start and end of most days, I write in my 5-minute journal. The prompt I answer in the evening is simple: List 3 amazing things that happened today.
- rose and thorn - this is an around-the-dinner table activity where you can each go around and share a rose (something great that happened today) and a thorn (something that pinched a bit). This one improves a great deal as you repeat it, it also gives families a way to be grateful for and relish in each other's triumphs and support each other during challenges.
- read together during Thanksgiving. Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors, collected a series of short readings about giving thanks and compiled them for free in the Thanksgiving Reader. The idea of the reader is to print it out and give a page to each member at the table, then go around and read aloud.
Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving break. I can't wait to see you all back.