Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some Things Never Change

What I get

I was greeted with the empty roll this morning and a great realization.

Our family really has gone through a transformation simply by focusing on what is good in our lives. The exercise of acknowledging outwardly those things that we are grateful each day has dramatically improved the air in our home.

It's been almost a year of sharing around the table. In the beginning there was a lot of "I don't know" answers. There were a lot of "Nothing!" answers. We spent a lot of extra time at the table waiting for everyone to sift through their bad day to unearth a tidbit of goodness. In the very beginning I accepted answers like..."we're having spaghetti for dinner" and "I don't have math class all day long." It was painful really. Every night I asked for the gratefuls I was overcome with the horrible feeling of failure. I think I was shocked, being confronted with the actual level of negativity in our home hurt. I couldn't believe it was really that difficult for five individuals to find something to be grateful for. After all we live in a comfortable home in a safe neighbourhood. We have enough to eat and we try to be supportive and loving in our home. I almost abandoned the project. 

The Goal

I'm grateful that I pushed through. After those first few weeks the Gratefuls began to shift. We began hearing things like "I have good Friends." and "Dad can play road hockey with me." The tide was turning and the project began to feel good.

9 months later and the gratefuls are beginning to acknowledge the day to day things we take for granted. Suddenly the conversations around the table about each of our days have gone from a long list of complaints to a recount of the things that made the day pleasant. We've begun hearing about supportive friends and co-workers. We've started sharing the funny little "guess what happened today" moments. The Gratitude Project is making a difference. We are talking about what we'd like our lives to be and how we are going to help each other create moments to be grateful for. That's a change for the best.

We all still have bad days, that's life. We still have days when we get "NOTHING!" answers. We still have days when we'd like to skip the exercise altogether. There are still dinners that get served with a heaping side of heartburn washed down with some tears. There are days when I'd really like to take a T.V. dinner out to the garage. We are still 5 people after all, taking up each others time and using up one another's oxygen. We are still two pain in the butt parents, two angst filled teenagers and a rambunctious boy at heart. There are some things you can't change and things you wouldn't want to.

I'll take this...We're getting closer!