Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Wonderful Thing Happened the Other Day

The Gratitude Project Update:

The other day as we walked in from a long day of school and work, I noticed my 9 year old daughter - the one that seemed to be exhausted and cranky - put away her backpack, unpacked her lunchbox and got herself a snack, all without a word from me.

I stopped and sincerely thanked her for putting away her backpack, unpacking her lunchbox and being responsible, even though she was tired.  

Yes, I had been working on this with my children for years. Yes, by now it seems that she should have it down and not need my reminders but I wanted her to know that I saw her effort and appreciated it. It wasn’t a big deal.  She looked in my eyes as I thanked her specifically and intentionally, and she smiled. 

Strangely enough, as I started dinner a bit later that evening, I put this brief talk on to listen to in the kitchen.  While watching, my daughter came over, put her arms around me and listened for the last minute. 

She looked up at the end with a proud smile and said, “You should be on this Mommy.”  I took that as a great compliment and didn’t know what to say. (Surely the words, “NO! I would be terrified to get up in front of all of those people!” would not be a good option, even though it was the truth.  In our house, we know it’s okay to be afraid but we do stuff anyway.)  So I just said thank you. 

I was very surprised by this comment.  This is my oldest daughter that doesn’t compliment easily and is a bit reserved and shy in her ability to praise others.  As I smiled back at her, she said something that took my breath away and still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. “You are teaching us to say thank you and that’s really good.”

Yes, yes it is sweetheart.

The Gratitude Project started out as a way to help my daughters focus on what they have.  For them to replace their constant wants with noticing what is already around them.  In just a few months we have seen an amazing shift.  Both of our daughters notice things around them more.  They thank us, sometimes out of the blue, for things that they probably would have taken for granted before. And again, for this I am grateful.  

With Love and Appreciation,

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