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1864 - Walker/Reynier family patriarch Jean Joseph Reynier, then 15, arrives in Sand Canyon from France; eventually homesteads 1,200 acres [story]
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The Good Long Road
| Saturday, Nov 15, 2014

JenniferFischerI’ve written about the “gratitude shift” previously on my blog and perhaps even here. Basically, the gratitude shift is a perspective readjustment by which one seeks to view everything through the lens of gratitude.

It isn’t always easy, but when it works, it really works. Here’s are a couple of simple examples:

Sink full of dirty dishes? Instead of mentally complaining about not having a dishwasher, I adjust my perspective and think, “I am grateful that I have food to cook and feed to my family.”

Fighting kids? Here’s the shift: “I am grateful I have two healthy boys and that I have the ability to help them learn to get along.” When I start with that phrase in my head, I can more effectively respond to them. I’ve often discovered that the extra moments in which I stop and seek to shift my perspective give them the opportunity to work out their disagreement on their own without my intervention.

Through engaging in a daily gratitude practice last November, I came to see the benefits of that practice and the way it led me to this important shift in perspective. That’s not to say that is automatic or that I never complain or get frustrated or overwhelmed. However, when I do find a way to make the shift, I’m glad I did. The process encourages me to recognize the blessings in my life and to realize that these blessings are everywhere.

Now that we are amid the season of gratitude, I encourage you to consider trying out a simple daily gratitude practice. Right now, as a family, what we’ve been doing is sharing one thing we are happy about each night when we eat dinner. This is our daily gratitude practice.

Starting with something like this is simple and is an easy way to focus on gratitude with young children. Now, if I forget to have everyone share at dinner, my 5- year-old will remind me.

The gratitude shift is something you can actively seek out on a daily basis, as well. For instance, look around you right now and find an opportunity for a gratitude shift. Perhaps it’s a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and put away or that needs to be washed: “I am grateful that our family has clothes to wear.”

I’ll admit it is not always easy, and they’re may be some situations where making the shift is quite challenging, but I believe it is possible, and I believe the shift empowers us and those around us to move toward more positivity in our lives.

Today was a day that reminded me of this gratitude shift and nudged me toward engaging in that perspective shift again. My son came home with head lice on his birthday. Our washing machine is broken, and we need to clean all of the sheets, pillowcases, towels, etc., because of the lice.

There was a hint of stress creeping up, but then I made the shift. I focused on gratitude that my husband was working from home today and jumped right in and washed both of our sons’ hair and combed through it for a lice check, and then combed through mine.

I embraced gratitude for a neighbor who let me come over to do laundry in the wake of the head-lice problem. I am grateful our family and friends have been able to give our son a happy birthday, despite the head lice.

I made the shift, and I’m glad I did. It made a major difference for me today – and for my entire family. We will share much that we are happy for when we have dinner tonight. We will embrace gratitude. I hope you will too. Share one thing you are thankful for in the comments below, or send a quick text or social media message or even a handwritten note to someone who deserves a “thank you.” You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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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