As we approach the end of the school year, it is a marvelous time to turn our attention to what we are grateful for. Here in this healthy, happy SMUS community, in this little corner of this beautiful Island, in this marvelous country called Canada, there is much to be grateful for. Nevertheless, as the year begins to run away with itself, it’
s all too easy to get lost in the “business” and “busyness” of everyday life!
We are, of course, as human beings always in a state of change, growth and transformation. We are apt to spend a great deal of time “doing” and “becoming”, rather than simply “being”. Making a space to reflect on what we are grateful for brings helps us slow down and give more attention to what really matters. Family, food, shelter, security, and health. Beauty, movement, art, music and nature. Quiet time. Learning, nature, and relationship.
Thankfulness helps us to be at peace with ourselves, and with the past. Very often we admonish ourselves for what we have not done. We say to ourselves “I wish…”; “I should have… “; “if only…”, we focus on our omissions rather than bringing our attention to what we have done.
Many children notice and appreciate what happens for them and around them. Others are “half empty” kind of children. They have a knack for noticing what we didn’t do, or what they don’t have or didn’t get. You know what that sounds like… “no one ever…”; “you always…“; “why can’t I…”; “it’s not fair…”, and so forth). As parents we can take that all too seriously, and get caught up in a constant need to appease our children.
The media takes full advantage of our insecurities. They carry out a full-time campaign to create a need and an appetite for what we don’t have. Life would be better if only you were prettier, slimmer, had this new
‘phone, video game, toy, clothing, and so on. Envy is the antithesis of gratitude. Envy leaves us empty and hollow, whereas gratitude fills us with appreciation, bestows confidence and expands our hearts!
Embracing gratitude cultivates optimism. It brings us into the present, rather than suspending joy and happiness for a time in the future. It helps us to notice and love what we already have, and what is present in our environment.
Things to ponder at the dinner table:
What would the world be like if we could not experience (or express) gratitude?
What relationships or people are you grateful for, and what is it about them that you appreciate?
Who in your life would you like to go back and say “thank-you” to?
What fills your heart with gratitude the most?
If you were painting a picture of gratitude, what colour would it be?
Tessa Lloyd, Junior School Counsellor