Gratitude: Life’s precious teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every night when I put my 4 year old son to bed, he asks me to recount the events of the day, often with excruciating detail. When we finally say goodnight, there is a sense of completion. No matter how good or bad the day was, in the eyes of a four year old, it was always fully lived.

While it can be tricky sometimes, this is a feeling I try connect to when my head finally hits the pillow as well. As student of meditation and personal development, I learned long ago that ending your day with gratitude sets you up for not only a positive mindset, but is the precursor to welcoming more prosperity into your life.

Knowing this to be an effective practice for myself, I decided one night to expand our nightly review and introduce a gratitude element with my son. After we retold the day, I asked him, “What are you most thankful for? What were the best parts of your day?”

A few things surprised me:

His answers.

I figured I would hear classic toddler interests: playing with my train, getting 2 gummy bears instead of 1, watching TV…Instead, a consistent theme showed up:

“When we saw our friend Pete at the grocery store.”

“When I got to order your coffee from Linda at the coffee shop.”

“Doing letters with my teacher at preschool.”

While these are all valid, special moments, somehow it wasn’t what I was expecting. I realized something about my son that I didn’t know before: he thrives off human connection. He loves his community and all the friends he has, young and old.

Then, he asked me the same question.

I’m not sure why this surprised me, but when he turned the focus on me, I had to gather my thoughts. For a parent of two small children, by 830pm, your head is typically focused on what you will be grateful for once the kids are sleeping: a moment of quiet, adult conversation, a glass of wine…

It’s important to me to be as honest as I can be with my son, so when he asked I paused to consider the question. Moments flickered in my mind:

“The sunshine and the birds singing on our dog walk today.”

“That hug we shared after being silly in the kitchen.”

“Having a whole dinner together without the baby crying.”

I could feel him considering it. I realized that he was learning about me as well, getting a window into what I love and appreciate as a person. Even though we shared the same day, we had our own unique experience, an important distinction for a toddler (and grownup!) to make.

Sharing this intimate learning moment together I felt a new gift of gratitude open up to me. I realized that gratitude not only paves the path for manifestation and abundance in our life, it shows us who we are and where our values lie.

Since connecting with my son’s love of his community, I make an extra effort to stop so he can talk about the garden he is planting with our neighbor. I also make sure I do this for myself, to stop and enjoy being outside in nature and the taste of a hot meal (if it happens)!

While people often talk about the principles of manifestation bringing you more things in your life, in this case, my new connection with gratitude has brought me…more gratitude.

There is no better feeling then an overflowing heart, what moments have brought you love today that are unique to you?

 

Elinor Svoboda

Level 1 and 2 teacher