My husband wrote a great article a few weeks back that was geared towards athletes however, in reading it I realized that it actually is fitting for parents as well. So, with his permission I have tweet his words a bit and am posting it here.
It should come as no surprise that the God who created us and the universe we live in implores us all over the Bible to be grateful people.
Aside from the Bible encouraging us to be thankful, studies show that people who practice gratitude are generally more happy, healthy, and optimistic about life.
Despite the encouragement that God and our culture give us to be grateful— Our ability to be grateful often ebbs and flows with the circumstances in front of us-often our children’s moods and attitudes.
Gratitude is like a muscle—it gets stronger if we consistently give it attention and push it beyond it’s level of comfort. Conversely, if we fail to exercise it consistently, our ability to be thankful atrophies.
Here are six habits of thankful parents, mental choice that parents can incorporate into their daily lives to grow and maintain their gratitude “muscles.”
Grateful Parents take time to soak in the moment
They stop, take a deep breath, and make it a point to appreciate they are able to engage in the lives of another image -bearer of God. They stop to enjoy the 100th question they have been asked that day by their little one. They hold the hug a little longer or stop to knee down and look their child in the eye while they tell their long winded school.
Grateful parents make it a habit to pause and enjoy, if only for a moment, the opportunity they get to invest in the future.
Grateful Parents recognize people who go unnoticed
They shake the hand the of Sunday school teacher who invests in their child. They notice and acknowledge the workers who wash the toys their kids play with at daycare or church. They praise God for the “village” of people who touch their children’s lives each day through school, church, neighbors and extra-curriculir events.
Grateful Parent fight against entitlement
They recognize every blessing they receive as a gift they are not entitled to. Entitlement stands in direct opposition to gratitude.
They moments of laughter rolling on the floor with a happy baby or kid. The extra hugs they get that people without children may not receive.
Grateful parents fight against the “I deserve” mentality that is so pervasive in our culture by thanking the giver of these gifts and frequently checking the posture of their heart.
Grateful Parents are coachable
They listen to advice and instruction from those older and wiser then them. They are able to listen to others who are in the stage of life as them even if they hold different views on parenting. They realize they do not have all of the answers. Even if they disagree with input that is given, it will not keep them from at least listening with an open heart.
Grateful Parents look for silver linings
They understand that life is not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. There will be hardships and this is true for all parents (even those on Facebook that look like it isn’t)
Grateful parents do not pretend these circumstance do not exist or pretend they are not affected by them. They do, however, constantly ask themselves “What good can come of this or has already come of this?” in the midst of the struggle.
In difficult times, gratitude can be tough to grab onto. Grateful parents make an effort to step back, look at the bigger picture, and cling to any silver lining they find.
Grateful Parent’s joy is not conditional
They do not need an all star kid or a day when they were superman or wonder women as a parent to be thankful. Gratitude for a grateful parent is not birthed from good results, nor is it circumstantial.
They understand that lasting joy cannot be found in their children. How do they set themselves on a trajectory of consistent gratitude?
They put their hope in the one who does not change. God. They read—no, devour His word. They participate—no, are actively involved in a community of like-minded people to sharpen one another.
At all costs they stay connected to the one who calls himself “The Rock.”