Gretchen Rubin writes in her book The Happiness Project, "When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to 'Enjoy now'. If I can enjoy the present, I don't need to count on the happiness that is (or isn't) waiting for me in the future."
Gratitude Journal is an app I've been using for several months now. If my baby is crying a lot or I feel anxious about a big life decision, I will stop and quickly jot down a few moments or just attach a picture that brings me joy and I instantly start to feel calmer.
I'm also attempting to explain thankfulness and gratitude to my three-year-old, Vera, who is starting to notice material possessions and also her role within our family. A friend gave us the book, I'm Thankful Each Day as a baby gift. When Vera was about 18 months old it was her favorite book of all. I've just recently taken it back out of storage and she has so many sweet things to say. "I'm thankful for my teachers and my sissy." So I went on a hunt to find some other good ones that spark conversation.
Here are a few keepers:
I'm Thankful Book - Todd Parr books are so intriguing to both babies and preschoolers. I imagine the bold primary colors and large faces are attention-grabbers. Parr has a way of explaining very complex issues in a simple and straightforward way. He takes the pressure off of parents by starting the conversation.
Little Elliot, Big Family - Elliot and Little Mouse established a sweet friendship in Mike Curato's first book by using their strengths to help one another. (Little Elliot, Big City is one of my family's all-time favorites). In Little Elliot, Big Family, the tiny elephant is grateful for an unlikely family of friends. This is a sweet book for kids and adults alike.
Good People Everywhere - This book is as moving for adults as it is for children. Watching the news can make anyone feel hopeless. It's important to remember that there are nice and kind people all over the globe and that acts of kindness help the world go around. The book has beautiful images of people helping one another. For example, the author writes, "Today carpenters are building fences and houses, and repairing homes that have been damaged by storms."
A Chair for My Mother - This book is a classic. In a world consumed with materialism the story generally makes even the youngest readers stop and think about the importance of love and relationships. The family in the story endures a house fire and then take pride in saving money for a new chair. Each member in the family is grateful, happy and appreciative of their new chair and find their own unique ways to enjoy it.
What are you reading this Thanksgiving season? Do you have any favorite books to teach gratitude?