Saturday, February 2, 2008

Teaching gratefulness

In the past 4 weeks, I've learned things about four women whom I know personally and admire and, I'll admit it, even sometimes envy.

These women are beautiful, well-off financially, have lots of friends, great kids, active in their church and their community.

In the past 4 weeks, one of these women (a 40-something year old mother of 9) was diagnosed with breast cancer; another separated from her husband and is preparing for divorce; another had her foot amputated (complications from diabetes); and the fourth discovered that her youngest child (only 20 months) has severe physical disabilities.

After learning of each of these situations/illnesses, I was initially stunned. Afterall, these are women I admire! These are women with beautiful homes, flat stomachs, gorgeous hair, new cars, good kids. How could this be?! And watching them accept their situations with grace has been a real eye-opener for me......would I react the same way?

In any event, I've become extremely grateful for my good health; I've become grateful for my house that I wish was a little bigger and a lot cleaner; I've become grateful for my 2-year old van that is littered with goldfish cracker crumbs and stray gum wrappers; I've become grateful for my children who bicker and argue most days, and who don't always get As and Bs, and who aren't the best athletes on the team; I'm grateful for my friends, whom I don't spend nearly enough time with; I'm grateful for my parents, who raised me with a good work ethic and a strong faith; I'm grateful for my husband who loves and adores me and, after 6 children, still tells me almost daily that I'm beautiful and that he loves me,and who remembers to thank me for dinner every night.......

I could go on and on, but the point of this post is to say how important I think it is that we teach our children gratefulness.

Since Lent begins in just a few days, I'm planning a "gratefulness lesson" for my family. Each day, I'm going to ask each of them to tell me one thing they are grateful for that day. How hard could that be?

Perhaps it will open their eyes to all that they have to be grateful for, as well.