The Gratitude Jar

Grateful Parenting

The Gratitude Jar

by Roxi Nevin

As part of our daily routine, we sit together and discuss various things as a family. This might be a story about something that happened in our day. A joke we’ve been waiting to tell, or a new song we heard. Maybe some news about our favorite video games, or new updates to talk about. Or a question we thought of that didn’t get answered right away. (With my youngest, this could be quite random). Sometimes this is a dinner activity, but they can also be spontaneous and happen anywhere. Recently, I was taking a picture of my food at the table, and my 10-year-old made jokes about posting food pictures on Instagram. So, I explained that I was actually taking the picture as part of my 30-day gratitude challenge. My kids LIVE for video games, so this particular word piqued their interest. If you’ve spent any time around 4th graders lately, you may know that one of the big fads right now is doing internet challenges. These challenges are done on various social media platforms, mostly YouTube and tiktok, which are very short homemade videos. So everything in our house is a “hashtagsomething challenge”. If you see my son flipping Jello in the air while his brother films it, he’s probably doing yet another internet challenge.

So when I said “30-day gratitude challenge”, three pairs of sparkling eyes looked at me with their interest peaked begging to know what this challenge was about. My kids know all about gratitude, and that one of my favorite parts of my job is the work I do for Grateful Leadership, so right away they wanted to know every detail. I told them about Susan Parente’s idea to do a 30-day gratitude challenge, where we found a way each day to express our gratitude. I explained that I had decided to use Instagram for my challenges so that I could keep them all together forever with pictures. Since my children don’t yet have Instagram we discussed how they too could be a part of the challenge and decided together to use a gratitude jar. Each day we write something we are grateful for and put it in the jar.

At the end of the 30 days, we will take out the papers and read them out loud together! As we write our notes, all silently together in the sitting room, my youngest writing diligently and with purpose with his hand pressed tight to the paper, and just a tiny sliver of his tongue hanging out indicating his level of concentration. As I look around the room, I can see that each one of them is trying to decide exactly which thing they want to write on the paper. My heart is full watching my kids take part in such a great challenge and to be so dedicated to making everything in perfect detail. And as I tuck them into bed, I remind them that each day together is the thing to be most grateful for and that we’re lucky to have so many reasons to have grateful hearts. I am excited for the end of the challenge when we read all our small notes of appreciation together and share each one together remembering the fond moments that made the cut that day to earn its place in the gratitude