Every night before my kids go to bed, they list what they are thankful for. It started as a quick way to get them to think about all that they have, but it has turned into much more than that. They often spin off into a reflection of their day, saying what they hope for for tomorrow, and what they did wrong today that they are going to work on, on top of listing what they are grateful for. It has really become a great exercise in both gratitude and reflection for them, but also for me.
I love listening to the simplistic things that they found noteworthy during they day and what they feel they should give thanks to God for. Often they thank God for the nice weather, time spent outside, a dinner that they liked, a toy they played with, and they always thank God for each other — even on days when I wasn’t sure that they liked each other at all.
As I listen to them each night I am reminded that I need to learn from them. I need to be grateful for people even on the difficult days, I need to give thanks for the things I take for granted, and I need to let my gratefulness turn into a reflection of how I can make the next day even better. My husband and I always finish it up saying what we are thankful for and on the days that were difficult it is a necessary softening of the heart. On the days that were great, it is good to be reminded why.
When we give thanks to God not just for the miracles in our lives but for the everyday things that we are blessed to have, our gratefulness often spills out onto others and becomes a reflection of what God does in the lives of those who follow him. When we show gratitude we begin to live with a grateful spirit and our thankfulness is obvious to all those we meet.