My last blog post highlighted my appreciation for Thanksgiving as a pure holiday that is quickly forgotten. Today I want to showcase three habits that we can all adopt in order to create an environment where gratitude is center stage to our life. These are simple actions that I’ve taken with family, friends and co-workers. Simple gestures with great power.
Building Thankfulness at Home
Recently my youngest, Ava, brought home a rock she was given at pre-school. It is just a rock but with great meaning. She can hold it in the palm of her hand and she makes it a point to bring it to our dinner table every night. She calls it “The Thankful Rock”.
A month has passed since she brought this rock home but every night, during dinner time, she pulls up “The Thankful Rock” and shares about what she is thankful for today. She will then pass the rock around the table and we all share what we are thankful for.
Courtney and I have always tried to engage with our children during dinner. We use our meal time as an opportunity to engage with each other as we all express the good and the bad that went on during our day. But this rock has now brought a new dynamic to our meal time that provides clarity on the blessings we are given daily.
What do you do with your family that fosters a sense of gratitude?
Sharing Thankfulness with Friends
One of my best memories of Portugal was in 2003 when my wife and I, along with another couple, planned a retreat for our church’s youth group. I can still remember the excitement we had in renting a big house away from the city and packing over 20 people for a weekend of relaxation with messages of hope, love and thankfulness.
During our stay everyone was given a small lunch bag that we were to identify as our own and place it in a visible area of the house. Throughout the weekend we were encouraged to use index cards and write a message of thankfulness for each person.
The goal was for everyone to have a source of encouragement to help us during life’s hardest times. I still have my own lunch bag. And while it’s been some time since I last read my messages, I still remember the times I spent writing a card during that weekend. Being thankful became easy as I recognized natural kindness in my friends.
How do you show gratitude with friends?
Fostering Thankfulness at Work
In a time where the busier we are the more important we feel, it is hard to slow down and recognize meaningful ways to communicate. While everyone uses email and IM to share thoughts and decisions, I believe the best way to share a feeling of thankfulness is by simply wiring a note. I do this often and for the most common tasks.
It is easy to write a note for someone’s birthday or during the holidays. But what about recognizing someone for that regular task they do, day in and day out. Every now and then I get an interoffice package with documents that need to be signed. I have made a conscious decision to often place a post-it note by my signature simply thanking my co-worker for fulfilling this task.
Recognizing employees for what they do, no matter the task, fosters thankfulness and creates a sense of pride in someone’s work that raises the bar on excellence.
How do you let your co-workers know you are thankful for what they do?
These are just some of the ways I’ve embraced gratitude and thankfulness. Join the conversation and share some of the ways you say Thank You to people in your life.