Faith Featured

Fostering Gratitude in our Families

Written by Traci Runge

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I wanted to share a few of the blessings I am thankful for. I also thought you may enjoy a few tips from me on fostering an attitude of Gratitude in your home.

First, let me say this….I am a generally upbeat person, I wake up that way, traffic and trips to Wal-Mart tend to suck a little happy out of me a little, but overall I am typically a “glass half full” kind of girl. 😉 I know that not everyone is made this way….I have had plenty of experience dealing with “Debbie Downers” and “Negative Nellies”! Chemistry aside, I believe each of us has the ability to find happiness in our everyday lives simply by focusing on the positive and BEING happy! Here are a few ways we foster the positive attitude in our home. Whether you decide to adopt one of these or all of them, I think you will be happy with the results.

1)      Prayer – We pray as a family, DAILY! We read the gospel, we pray before meals, we attend Mass regularly, we end our night with prayers of Gratitude and we teach our children that prayer is not a time to ASK for what you want, but a time to praise God for the blessings you already HAVE!

2)      Simplicity – We try to avoid extravagance. We don’t believe that just because you have the means, does NOT mean your children should have every game, electronic device and designer label known to man. This only teaches our youth that material possessions are more important than beliefs, responsibility and charity. Luxuries that are given without price will likely be taken for granted. Anything worth having in this lifetime is worth working for, and if we simply provide our children with all the latest and greatest gadgets, how will they ever begin to understand what has true value?                          

                                                                                                                  

*SIDENOTE* We were reading bible verses in Religious Ed this week and after each verse I asked my students what life lessons they could learn from them and I was so pleased by the first response one of my sweet young students gave me. I read to them: “Your heavenly Father knows what each of you needs. Only have faith in God and trust in him, and he will take care of all your needs.” My young student said, “When we see someone wearing a cute shirt or clothes that we don’t have we don’t need to have those things because what really matters is the faith in our hearts and how we live our lives.” YEP! Gold Star for Lily! I love it when our young people really understand what is truly valuable in life!

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3)      Gratitude Jar – We have a family Gratitude Jar that we keep in our kitchen with a stack of paper and whenever someone thinks of something they are particularly grateful for, they write it down and put it in the jar. If you are having a tough day, you can always take out a few and read them and you are instantly turned right back around! Nothing makes you realize how blessed you are like reading a note from your 7 year old that reads “I am grateful for food” or “I am grateful for God.” Being on the “lookout” for blessings leaves less room for negativity and greed to creep into our hearts.       

4)      Stewardship – I don’t just mean donating money to a cause or giving old clothes to the Goodwill, I mean giving your time to others. Finding activities to do together with your children that will benefit others helps them to not only understand that there are people that are less fortunate than us, but it also teaches that we CAN make a positive difference in the lives of others. Every human being deserves love and respect. Regardless of religion, social standing, economics, education, or race, just like the Depeche Mode song so eloquently out it, “People are People”. We must ALWAYS find value in human life, in ANY human life!

5)      Education – I don’t just mean school here, I mean teach your children to value knowledge. Educate them on their faith, educate them on history, read with them, teach them and learn with them. NEVER stop learning!  “Knowledge is Power” – Francis Bacon

So these are a few ways we work to foster the attitude of Gratitude in our family, I would love to hear how your family practices Gratitude.

Now, as I mentioned earlier here are a few of the blessings I am most grateful for.

                                My Faith

                                My husband

                                My Children

                                The people in my life –Friends and Family both near and far-

                                The safety and good health of my family and friends

                                My safe home

                                For always having enough

                                Our businesses and the customers that make us successful

                                Our Priests and the staff that make our church dynamic

                                The parishioners in our church that make it all that it is

                                Our government and ALL who work to make this great nation run

                                The natural beauty that surrounds us daily

                                Our Freedom

                                The educational opportunities our children have

                                My business partners

                                Kids who like to cuddle no matter how old they are

                                The AMAZING teachers and staff that not only teach our children, but love them as well

                                Our safe city

                                The doctors and medical staff that care for our family and loved ones

                                Sunrises

 

I hope that you will find Gratitude in your own day-to-day life and that you will share your faith and gratitude with others DAILY.

Blessings!

feature image from Rachel Gnagy at Inscribed Photography

Fostering Gratitude

About the author

Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge