I started thinking about this not long after Deb posted the blog post about kindness, gratitude and altruism. I started discussions with my family at dinner, and then I got sick. And I didn't feel much gratitude. I felt sick. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. It came on the weekend and slowly got worse and worse and worse. But after 3 days in bed I now feel better - but just a little behind! It's now a whole week since I should have blogged about this and the next task is out and I haven't even read it yet. And now my daughter is turning 3 on the weekend (I know....my baby girl is going to be 3!) and I'm busily trying to organise her party. Not to mention catching up on 3 days of missed work. So I'm going to take a deep breath and write about kindness, gratitude and altruism.
There is so much I'm grateful for. And at times we can get so bogged down in our own problems that we do forget to smell the roses and be grateful for what we do have.
My family is healthy. My family gets along. We have a lovely (albeit a bit messy) house. We get a nice cooked meal every single night -not once have we had to go to bed hungry. Hunter is settling into school and is really doing well with his reading. Savannah has a bunch of friends at childcare and is such a bubbly girl. We can afford to pay the bills. Nigel is great at looking after the kids so I can have a night out. And so the list goes on.
Daily gratitude ritual
I thought this was a great idea. Something that would be awesome to introduce to the kids. So I started at dinner, each of us to tell everyone else something we are grateful for. The kids don't quite understand the concept of gratitude and grateful, so I asked them to tell me something they were thankful for or something that made them happy that day. I think it kinda works.
After a few nights of doing this Hunter asked, why do we have to do this every night. I said because it's important to remind ourselves how lucky we are and the good things in our lives.
Hunter usually says he is thankful for playing with his friends. The best part of his day was playing with his friends and he is happy playing with his friends. What a great thing to be grateful for. We all need good friends! Savannah was funny. Her answers varied but the one that stood out was she was thankful for the monsters. The pink monsters. Everyone loves a pink monster right!
Volunteer or participate in your community
I wrote about my volunteering in my post about fear. I have generally been quite good about giving my time. Firstly with St Vincent de Paul through emergency relief. Then I moved into the Regional Team. I was a member of the kindy governing council and secretary for 12 months and now I'm secretary of the school governing council. I don't feel like I can commit more time, given I'm working and running a family. But I put in where I can.
Random acts of kindness
I bought a kindle book for a stranger on the amazon forums - searched their wish list sent it off to them. That gave me a real buzz! I will try and do that more often. I was only a $2 book. But I felt good.
I also signed up to a pay it forward thingy - where I have pledged to send 6 friend something I make during the year. As a surprise - just when they least expect it. I did this last year too and sent 10 gift cards I made to 5 friends. This year I'm thinking of yummy, chocolatey treats (that can travel!).
I really wanted to pay for the lady in front of me at the newsagent today - but that just seemed weird (and lets face it - I'm not rolling in cash).
Charity money box
My son has a money box for charity. He gets $5 pocket money each week. $3 for his wallet, $1 for savings and $1 for charity. At the end of the year we gather his charity money and do something with it for charity. Last year our conversation went something like this
Me - you have $20 in your charity fund (we only started half way through the year), what do you want to do with it?
H - we need to find a poor person and give them the money.
Me - No, it doesn't quite work like that mate. It's better to give food, or clothing or things they need
H - oh yeah, lets buy food and find a poor person and give it to him
Me - well usually we go through charity organisations - like the food you donate to school for the food tree.
I have an idea, we could buy some more food to donate to the school, or we could buy something from the world vision catalogue, like school supplies (we did this as the card for his teacher and the childcare workers so he knew what I was talking about) or we could buy a toy to put under the Christmas Wishing Tree
H - yeah, lets buy a toy!
So that was it!
Yes, I have a lot to be grateful for!!