The Giving (Gratitude) Tree

This year my family is starting a new tradition.  Inspired by a TED Talk and a tiny grocery store tree (impulse buy…just so cute!)

Relationships take work.  The great relationships are great because both people put in the work.  It’s not always even, but it’s there.

Big changes. Big changes really shine a light on relationships.  There is actually a book called “How to Have a Baby and Not Hate Your Husband”.  I am going to chalk it up to that mother bear and cub hormonal thing that goes on, but it is a major shift.  Your relationship is different.  You’re different.  But, I’m not just talking about changes like becoming a parent.  Starting a new job, moving, losing a loved one, illness, promotions, career changes, I could go on.  Life is busy!  It’s full of joy, pain, success, failure; and at times the “fullness” of life can leave you feeling drained.

I was scrolling through my FaceBook feed when I should have been doing about a million other things when this video caught my eye.  Not a dog montage….which is shocking.  I will kick myself forever for not saving the video, but it really struck a chord with me.

It was called “The Importance of Teaching Your Child Resiliency” or something along those lines.  It was an interview with a well known psychologist (not that I knew him).  The interviewer asked him a question about what he saw as the most important thing we can teach our children.

His response was: resiliency.

His explanation really blew my mind.  It really made me think about my attitude on a regular basis.  My expectations.  He looked at the interviewer and very matter of factly told him: LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO MAKE US HAPPY.  LIFE IS HARD. LIFE IS CHALLENGING.  LIFE IS MEANT TO TEACH US.

BE GRATEFUL THAT LIFE IS A MIX.  That was his take home.  Be grateful that life has downs because then you really get to do the work and appreciate the highs.

Do your work to be happy.  Cultivate a mindset of gratitude, bravery, and honesty.  Do not expect life to always be good, but instead build up a mindset that you can do or handle anything.  Until the train comes out of the tunnel, you can keep it on track.  This man was so brutally honest.  It is not life’s job to give you happiness.  It’s yours.

My family and I have had a lot of blessings and also loss this past year.  In addition, My husband and I are navigating a new relationship, not just revolving around two adults.  Trying to put in the work.  So, we decided that probably one of the best ways for us to grow in our new roles was to develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”.

Focusing on what we are grateful for in life, and how we can grow from the experiences that challenge us.

Enter the little grocery store tree and one box of festive gift tags.  For 25 days we will each write down one thing we are grateful for and place it on the tree.  Just one a day.  But being consciously grateful once a day can make a HUGE difference in how you see your days.  Our plan is to read them in the New Year.  Starting that year off on the right foot, and hopefully working on building an extra foundation of resiliency and appreciation.

An Attitude of Gratitude.