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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Nov 16, 2013

JenniferFischerLast year, on Small Business Saturday, I wrote a piece about “Appreciation and I Wants” and discussed the value of focusing on gratitude during the holiday season to avoid getting caught up in “I Wants.” That includes focusing on gratitude with our children and collectively as a family, because often the “I Wants” of our children can be louder and more irritating than our own.

Plus, isn’t this season really more enjoyable if we focus on gratitude, appreciation and spending quality time with those we love rather than in a mad dash to get the best deals?

I also believe in leading by example. If our children see us focusing on gratitude, rather than wants, they will be inclined to as well.

This year, instead of waiting until after the madness of Black Friday to draw your attention and focus to the importance of gratitude, I’ve decided to do it now.

I know many of you are already doing this. I often see gratitude shares on Facebook, and I love it. Seeing what others appreciate reminds me to be more appreciative and helps me remember all that I already have, which helps me realize there really aren’t any I “wants” worth wanting. I have my family, and we’re all healthy. I have a home. I have food on the table and clothing on my back. What else could I possibly want?

A talented writer whom I admire runs a site called Inspired by Familia. Both last year and this year, she led a 21 Days of Gratitude campaign that I am joining. So, here’s more gratitude list for days 1-16 to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit.

Day 1: Friendship – So grateful for my friends, nearby and far away, for their constant support.

Day 2: Health – As I’ve been working lately to arrange a screening event for cancer patients who participated in a recent film camp with my husband and me, I am definitely reminded to be grateful for my health and the health of my children.

Day 3: Kindness – I love being the recipient or the person engaging in a random act of kindness. There can never be too much kindness in the world, and seeing kindness in action warms my heart.

Day 4: A Teacher – I’m grateful for all teachers, as the child of a teacher, a former educator (of sorts) myself, and a person who has been shaped by so many great teachers. On my mind lately has been one of my piano teachers, Ann Chamlee. She is no longer alive, but I think of her often and know she unequivocally changed my life.

Day 5: Emotions/What Brings You Joy – The other night (on Day 5), my son sang and sang as we dealt with rush-hour traffic in L.A. It brought me such joy.

Day 6: Talent/Skill or Something You’re Good At – This circles back to Ann Chamlee and all of the other wonderful piano teachers I had for 17 years. I am grateful that even after months and months, I can sit down at a piano and play – almost any song I see. Such a gift that I do not take for granted. I am also grateful that I’m starting to get good at cooking, as well. (My husband is grateful for that one, too.)

Day 7: Freedom. Grateful that I have the freedom to choose whom to love and share my life with, and that I was able to decide when to start my family. Exactly four years ago (on Day 7), I kissed my eldest son for the first time. Very grateful for that moment and all that have followed, even the challenging ones. He brings so much joy to my life.

Day 8: An Adventure: Going to Egypt 14 years ago was one of the best adventures of my life, for many reasons. The biggest would be that I met my husband there. He was also studying abroad.

Day 9: Something Funny: My boys. As much as they can challenge me, they can also always find a way to make me laugh.

Day 10: Parents: I am grateful for my parents, who truly made it their goal to provide a nurturing, supportive and loving environment for their children. Now that I am a parent, I truly realize all they did for me and will forever be grateful.

Day 11: Something Beautiful: The mountains and hills surrounding our community.

Day 12: Something that made you stronger/a hard life lesson: To avoid a lengthy, T-M-I share, I’ll just say “loss.” It is seems odd to feel grateful for loss. Yet, loss is unavoidable. It is part of the circle of life, and there is always much to be learned from it. In overcoming loss, I become stronger and learn to appreciate what I have right here, right now.

Day 13: Family: I am grateful for family. For my sons and husband. For my parents. For my brothers and for my brother’s family. I appreciate how my family has grown in some extraordinary ways over the past decade and am truly grateful for that growth.

Day 14: Nature: I was just telling my husband last weekend as our boys played happily at the beach that there is no better toy than nature, and no better source of inspiration. Stop. Smell the roses. Take in the views. Savor it.

Day 15: What you love about yourself: I am grateful that I am driven to give and that I truly enjoy helping others. Giving is the best gift.

Day 16: Food: I am grateful that I do not struggle with food insecurity. Through my past work with youth and the volunteer efforts I now do with No Kid Hungry, I am aware that I cannot take this for granted. Too many children, adults and elderly in the U.S. (16 million) and around the world have no idea where their next meal will come from. I am grateful I can feed myself and my family, and that I am able to donate money and time to helping provide food for others.

Here are her prompts for the last five  days of the campaign, in case you have been inspired to join in: Day 17 – a book; Day 18 – a moment; Day 19 – a gift you received; Day 20 – what you do everyday; Day 21 – something you can’t live without.

If you join in, share it with me on twitter (@IndieJenFischer) #21DaysofGratitude or at The Good Long Road on Facebook. I’ll be sharing my final gratitude prompts on my Facebook page and my Twitter and will be writing about the campaign on my blog soon, as well.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

 

 

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