Yesterday was Thanksgiving. A special day for giving thanks. But I wonder why we need a special day on the calendar to remind us to be thankful? So much to be grateful for every day when we stop and think about it.
I don’t come from a “glass is always half full” upbringing. So remembering to really focus on the good in a situation rather than the bad is a learned behavior for me. One that takes practice. But as with anything with enough practice it wil become habit over time.
Just the other day I was driving my kids home from school using my husband’s uncle car while my car was in the shop. None of us really enjoy being in that car because it is rarely used and so has a pretty stale smell to it. My daughter complains each time she is in it. So as I drove home she brings up how much she dislikes riding in it – again. She wanted to know when I could get my car back because this one smelled so bad. You know what? I was on the verge of agreeing with her and then caught myself.
Instead, I decided to point out how bitter cold it was out that day and how their school is a pretty far walk from our house. Would she rather be walking home with her ridiculously heavy backpack that contains everything just short of the kitchen sink?
I told her I was grateful for the car because without it I’d be in a bind. How would I get to get to work, to their school, to kung fu class etc. I told her I, for one, was grateful to have this car to use in the meantime. Wasn’t it better to focus on that that rather than complain?
Did she get it? No, but over time…she will… if I keep instilling it . One day, she will look at her glass and see it is half full. She will learn to look up at the sky, not just to check for rain, but to give thanks. Thanks for the brilliant colors in the leaves of fall, thanks for the mittens on her cold hands, thanks for sun helping to warm her face.
One day she will look around and see many things to be thankful for… and it won’t even have to be Thanksgiving.
Originally published November 28, 2008