Making Gratitude a Habit – Our November of thanks

I have a relatively young family. My husband and I have been married four years this month and our youngest is only two. I have a (fabulous) 13-year-old step son and a 4-year-old chocolate lab. Needless to say, all of us are still in the training faze of life (especially the dog). I am of the mind, however, that it is never too early (or too late for that matter) to pick up a good habit or tradition that will serve you well for the rest of your life. I am also of the mind that holidays are a great time to make new traditions or build on old ones! So, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what could be better than making a new habit out of giving thanks where thanks is due?

How often do we say “thank you” OUT LOUD? I would say that I am nearly always grateful and try my very best to be courteous to everyone. I was raised right (thanks, mom!). But do I say thank you to everyone who serves me? Do I encourage my children to say thank you to all of the people who serve them through their week? Do they even notice who serves them? What about the wonderful post-office staff? UPS guy or gal? Bag clerk at the grocery store? What about the police officers? Sheriff deputies? Fire fighters? It’s about time the Tyler family gave a little more thanks. So here’s what I’m going to do:

Step 1. Make thank you cards. To heck with buying these things when I can make them out of cereal boxes! Cutting uniform squares out of cardboard or old sheets of (non-sensitive) one-sided junk mail is a great job for a 13 year old!
Step 2. Write brief thank you notes on them that we can keep in the car. For example, “Thank you for your help today! Our family is grateful for you. – The Tylers”
Step 3. Have my kids hand them to people who help us throughout the month of November. Heck, I’ll even do it! We’ll explain that we give thanks for the folks who help us during the month of November as part of a month-long Thanksgiving celebration. Then we’ll hand over our cute “thank you” notes.
Step 4. Talk about it. I’ll bet we will be surprised by how many people help us every day. Talking about how many cards we give out will be great dinner conversation and will help our kids realize just how blessed they are by the people they meet every day.

And there you have it, a shiny new November tradition that comes with the added bonus of helping our kids (and ourselves) develop the habit of being constantly (and outwardly) thankful. Gratitude is a gift, not only to those who receive it but also to those who GIVE it. A grateful heart is a happy one.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


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