“Gratitude is when a memory is stored in the heart, and not in the mind” - Lionel Hampton
A wonderful quote explaining the simplicity and wonder of the feeling of gratitude. We have now reached the end of November, the month reminding us all to be more thankful, and show our gratefulness to others.
Gratitude was my theme for November - I applied it in my groups and individual sessions with children and teenagers. I was amazed that when initially asking them “what are you grateful for?” and was met with either blank stares, or a loud unanimous “fortnite!!”. That was when I had decided to teach and encourage its practice for the month of November (…and not only).
How did we do it? We regularly practiced gratitude mindfulness exercises, bringing our awareness to the present moment and to what we are grateful for in our lives. Each of our kiddos was then given the opportunity to showcase their gratitude creatively. Imagine first, inhaling gratitude, and exhaling joy. Imagine that being done by all students in each class for several minutes while listening to calming music. Now imagine the positive energy that filled that classroom before completing the activity of the day. My favourite was the gratitude trees - I attach some of them here!
I was amazed when the children themselves had explained that “gratitude means happiness and showing others your happiness they are in your life”. And they are so right! A grateful child, research shows, is a happer child. The aim of November was to practice thinking and feeling gratitude for little things, for big things, and for everything in between!
Extra family gratitude tip: At family dinner time, ask each family member to share, instead of their highs and challenges of the day, ask for their rose and thorns of the day. It’s a simple exercise, encourages children to open up and even share details of their days at school! Asking for 3 roses and 1 thorn, teaches children indirectly to focus on the positive aspects of their lives (their parents, friends, teachers, special moments, things) and slowly be guided to be more (and show) grateful towards them too!