Setting a tone: gratitude and thankfulness

Today’s post is about setting a tone of gratitude and thankfulness in your home.

setting a tone

First, let’s start with a reflection:

  • What are the top 3 things you complain about?
  • Are these things that only exist as a consequence of living in a country where you, by definition, are in the top 10% of wealthiest people in the world?
  • Is there anything you can do to change any of those things?

If you want me to be conservative, let me suggest that if you are reading this you are in the top 20% of the wealthiest people in the world today. I’m also going to suggest that complaining about things you cannot change does little to change them and more significantly does not do anything to promote an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness.

This is not to say that speaking and advocating for change is not a good idea. It is! But this is different to complaint without action.

Some ideas to put this into practice:

  • leave notes for those you live with (children, spouse, or roommates) to express appreciation.
  • Send thank you cards, congratulations on that amazing thing you’ve done, thanks for being you cards.
  • Put a note in a loved ones uniform pocket (or any other kind of work clothing) where they will find it later.
  • Put a note in a lunch box sharing something you are thankful for.
  • Create a thankfulness jar filled with a collected object or a note explaining what you are thankful for each day.
  • Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts book offers lots of ideas.
  • Ask each other to name three things they/you are grateful for today.

Those I’ve made a list of things, an attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness is not encompassed by a list of things. It is a matter of practice and habit. I have to tell it’s a habit that I am sometimes defeated by. I do know that the less I throw myself pity parties the better off I am, and the more able to encounter thankfulness in me those I encounter or engage are.

“Love is always ready to deny itself, to give, sacrifice, just in the measure of its sincerity and intensity. Perfect love is perfect self-forgetfulness. Hence where there is love in a home, unselfishness is the law. Each forgets self and lives for others. But where there is selfishness it mars joy. One selfish soul will destroy the sweetness of life in any home. It is like an ugly bush in the midst of a garden of flowers. It was selfishness that destroyed the first home and blighted all the loveliness of Paradise; and it has been blighting lovely things in earth’s home ever since. We need to guard against this spirit.” ― J.R. Miller

So gratitude is an attitude that also helps one develop an attitude of self-effacement. This is about recognizing that we are not the center of the universe. Yet, in order to love others well we must love ourselves well.

Another way to engender thanksgiving and gratitude is to make the speaking of it part of family activities and occasions.

Family Gathering or Thanksgiving

Here is a prayer that you might want to use for Thanksgiving or a family gathering:
We have come together
to celebrate the gift of this home
and to ask God’s blessing on it,
and to ask God’s continued blessing
on those who live in it.
We have come together
to renew friendship
and to make festival together
to dedicate ourselves and this place
to the pursuit of peace, justice and wholeness
and to the care of God,
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Unless the Lord builds the house
They labour in vain who build it.
Unless the Lord protects the city
The Watchers guard it in vain.
Our hope is found in Jesus Christ
God’s stumbling block and corner stone.

(Prayer from the Iona Community, published in Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995, p.74-75)

Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer.  She is proudly Team Rabe. Recently married, she and her husband love to cook together using fresh ingredients. More recipes can be found at Food: Nourish.  You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook.  Quotidian Home is a place of comfort from which to show hospitality, of joining with friends for food, fun, laughter, and tears.


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