We try to eat dinner together as a family as many times as we can through the week. This can be difficult to accomplish at times, but we try. It is nice to be able to sit down and talk together as a family. No TV and no cell phones…just food and talk.
Last year, my husband and I read the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I actually saw him speak on a couple of occasions. The book and his talks are fabulous. There was one thing in particular that really stood out to me from his work: the importance of expressing gratitude.
So, we start off our dinner together as a family with one question: What are you grateful for?
Now, you’d think that kids wouldn’t be into this, right? Well, you may be surprised. My girls love it. In fact, I don’t even have to do the prompting. They always remind us to talk about what we are grateful for each night. And, because this has become habit for us, we even do it when we have guests over or are out for dinner. I guess we are spreading the grateful bug. Even other kids like to answer this question. The answers can be funny, happy, sweet and simply silly at times.
Why is this important? It helps us to celebrate the bright spots of every day. Some days, it is easy to pick out what you are grateful for and other days it is hard. On those days when it is hard, I promise that stating what you are grateful for makes that day just a little bit better.
I know this practice provides my family with two things: optimism and perspective. Optimism that we are subconsciously scanning our day for what we are grateful for, knowing we are going to share this as a family during dinner. And, perspective to count our blessings and not let the little things in life drag us down. Both of these important lessons and reminders for us all (especially our kids).
What am I grateful for today? I’m grateful that I have a husband who supports me in all my endeavors (I’ve had a lot of them!). Boy, does he put up with a lot. I mean, let’s be serious, he lives with three women!
If you’d like other ideas for family activities around the dinner table see my next post here.