◈ Today we are starting a “30-day Gratitude Challenge” in our homeschool. My sister started one about 10 days ago on Facebook so I joined her. It’s been an amazing way to start or end the day, focusing on what we are truly thankful for instead of the mess going on around us. My son does a daily journal, and in the midst of the Christmas “I-wants”, I thought what better way to refocus on what’s important then to write 1-3 things each day that he is already grateful for.
In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
◈ Gratitude is a word used to express thankfulness and praise.
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
◈ Remaining in a state of gratefulness is a skill and it takes practice. Teaching our children early to be grateful and thankful in all things is a gift that will last them their entire lifetimes. It’s a gift that especially pays off in difficult times, as we can all attest to now. Not only that, but it’s God’s will for each of us. He always knows best.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
◈ Only a few days into the challenge, I have already noticed a huge difference in my attitude. I must admit it was getting quite stinky before I started. Getting burdened down with the cares of life, rising COVID numbers, being in quarantine, cabin fever, and various health challenges can just get to you. Especially if you let it. Being grateful can bring us greater peace and inner joy and it refocuses our gaze onto the positive things in life instead of the negatives.
◈ When you’re in that state of gratefulness, it’s important to remember who it is you’re actually grateful to – it’s not some outer planetary source called the universe or some joojoobah energy (don’t know where I got that word from haha!). It’s GOD! He’s the one that supplies us with all we need and He does more than we can even ask.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:19
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,—Ephesians 3:20
◈ The Story of Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel 1 is such a beautiful Biblical testament to true gratitude. This story really shaped my life around the time we adopted our son (I of course ended up naming him Samuel). I encourage you to take some time to read the entire chapter, maybe for the first time or as a review. Here’s a portion of the scripture where Hannah shows here gratefulness to the Lord, saying to the priest Eli:
And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”—1 Samuel 1:26-28
How can YOU join in?
- Set an example – take the challenge yourself. I’m currently doing the challenge with family as a Facebook status on my personal page. You might not want to do it in such a public way but the one good thing about that is that it helps keep you accountable. Remembering to do it is key! Another way to take part is to buy yourself a beautiful journal and keep track in it. There’s lots of journals made specifically for gratitude challenges but if you’re wanting to start with us today, pick anything you have laying around the house and just do it! Another great idea is the many free app’s on the Apple or Google Play Stores. I recently downloaded a free app called ‘Gratitude: Journal & Reminders’ onto my iPhone. There’s also the ‘365 Gratitude Journal’. Be careful though. Some app’s require payment after you’ve already started (that may be okay with you, but just a heads up). Another super easy idea is Etsy! You can even buy digital downloads of pre-designed Gratitude journal pages. Here’s one example I found. So, start with us today and we will have a whole month of gratefulness posts done just in time for Christmas! What a way to celebrate Advent and Christmas (I already know what I’m going to post on Christmas Eve – guess!)
- Have your child/ren start their own Gratitude Journal in your homeschool or home. We use the simple and free Google Docs app on my son’s school computer as a daily journal. You could pizzazz that idea up by using a paper journal that your child can decorate. They can colour a picture, take a photo of, or draw what they are grateful for each day. Go whole hog and use markers, paint, GLITTER, glue, found objects, etc. You could also try posting a white or chalk board up where they can post to each day. Maybe the whole family would want to get in on it if it’s up in a public space such as the kitchen. You could also have your child improve their writing skills by using this challenge to encourage them to write letters of gratitude to people in their lives, public servants, etc. The sky’s the limit! We are going to be making a ‘Thank you Health Care Workers’ sign for our living room window in art class this Friday. Join us!
- Start a family gratitude jar on January 1st. Have your family write what they’re grateful for on little pieces of paper and in a year open them up! You’ll have an amazing list of things that happened throughout the year on your next New Year’s Eve!
- Combine this challenge with a Random Acts of Kindness lesson. As I wrote about in a previous post on random acts of kindness, this would be a super way to combine gratefulness with this lesson. Have your child/ren write a list of people they are grateful for and then one random act of kindness they could do for each. In this time of quarantine there are still various ways you could do this. Write a letter, draw a picture, drop a gift at a door, shovel a sidewalk, send a text or email, call a friend or family member, share the love!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.—Psalm 100:4-5
◈ What are you going to do to show your gratefulness? Are you going to join me on this challenge? How about your homeschool?
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”—Hebrews 12:28-29
◈ I would LOVE to hear from you if you’re going to join in! Send me an note! If you homeschool, let me know what your kids will be doing for the challenge! I’m really looking forward to doing this with you in community! Follow along with me on Instagram. I’m trying to post a “What are you thankful for” post on my Stories each day. You can even post along with me on there daily if you’d like!
◈ I’m grateful for you,