So, this is a random resource for children I found on Pinterest, but I LOVE IT and I NEED IT because I guess my gratitude skills are on par with an elementary student.
It's not that I am not grateful. I am deeply and profoundly grateful. Having experienced traumatic loss, near death experiences, and extraordinary self sabotage will do that to you.
But I do have a problem with focus. I also have a problem with superstition. I also have a problem with perfectionism. #whatarecipe
Reflective gratitude requires focus because it takes discipline to keep your thoughts on track without becoming distracted by that thing you forgot to get at the grocery store or the email you forgot to follow up on at work.
Superstition and perfectionism go hand in hand because not only do I have a tendency to wonder if I am praying "the right way" but I also have a tendency to worry I am not "covering all my bases." Sometimes I get trapped in my own prayer chain because I don't want to leave anyone out...I am grateful for so many.
So, just as I have to practice bringing my focus back to the task at hand, I have to practice reminding myself that God does not operate superstitiously and he never, not once, asked for my prayers to be perfect.
He just wants me to speak openly to Him. The funniest thing is He already knows everything. All of it. Every bit. In and out. Better than I do, even. But the prayer does not change Him.
It changes me.
So, I am not ashamed to go back to elementary basics on how to be grateful. I need to practice the focus and the authenticity and not worry about who I left off because you know what? God's already got them anyway.
Maybe this could help you, too, or at the very least, maybe it can help you help a child focus their gratitude intent. I also think it's an excellent way to set the foundation for prayer so that our children don't grow up with the same kind of prayer problems I just described.
Prayer wasn't meant to be an act of forced compliance, checking the box, pleasing the superstitions, or winning the best prayer award. (Prayer, Pray-er, get it?)
We can teach this early on: that honest, specific, and focused reflection holds me accountable and maintains my spiritual growth. It is the seed of an everlasting relationship with God.
I have two young sons, ages six and four. From pregnancy and beyond, they have been mirroring back to me more than I ever could have dreamed of learning about myself and my own growth. As we grow together through this life, I hope to always mirror back to them the same inspiration, strength, and wonder they have shown me.