There was a time in my twenties where I didn't really know which way was up and couldn't see the way out of how I was feeling. During this time I was house sitting for a friend and found a book on her shelf that helped to turn those feelings around. Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance showed me the way forward, starting with the simple practice of giving thanks. Reflecting on what I was grateful for in my life was such a potent exercise, in moments it transformed how I felt: from overwhelmed to calm. I continue this reflection daily, just before I go to sleep I take a few moments to be grateful.
Believe it or not being grateful relates to raising happy healthy eaters. Before dinner each night at our table we say a blessing on our meal, giving thanks to the people who grew the vegetables or thanks to the fish who gave their lives, it changes each night and we take it in turns at saying the blessing. We are not of a particular religious faith and I don't believe you have to be to give thanks for your meal. To me it teaches children to be grateful for the food they have in front of them and gives them a connection to the bigger picture of how the food came to be on the table. Our meal blessing ritual began when River was at Steiner playgroup and learnt this song that the class sang before they had their morning tea:
Blessing on the blossom
Blessing on the fruit
Blessing on the leaf and stem
and blessing on the root
and blessing on our meal
We still sing this song from time to time, I love the connection to nature that it evokes.
We live in times where expectations can easily run high. Children, teenagers, adults often expect that they can have what they want, when they want it with little grace shown for what they already have in their lives. Showing children how to be grateful, how to live with grace is more powerful than telling them, 'you should be grateful for that meal'.
Natalie and many other bloggers dedicate some of their posts each week to being grateful by joining in with the 52 weeks of grateful project.
Are you feeling grateful? Or tired and struggling, wondering where grace has gone? And what about teaching your children to be grateful, how are you going with that? Love to hear in the comments.