Going back a few days to my Do you feel what I feel? post I have been pondering why it is that so many people have that after Christmas let down. Well I don't have the answers yet but I do want to tell you about something.
My oldest son (I don't know why but by not mentioning his name I don't feel so guilty talking about him..haha) Anyway he is going to be 11 in just a few weeks and he is starting to show signs of going thru........puberty. He's been pretty moody and grumpy at times. I really didn't expect it this early but from what I'm reading it's the normal time..anyway I noticed he showed some depression around Christmas. When we were still opening presents he disappeared to the other room. I had to go "invite" him back in.. he just wasn't in the Christmas spirit. He usually loves all holidays, especially Christmas. A few mornings ago I went to wake him up and we were chatting (I love these moments) He told me he was disappointed in Christmas. My first instinct was to say "Are you kidding me???" You got sooo many presents..you should be thankful.. do you realize how much you have compared to some people??" Anyway I kept it all in for the most part because I could see he truly was sad about something, and I knew it didn't have anything to do with material things.
I took a deep breath and tried to just let him express himself, then I explained to him that I thought sometimes there is such a build up to Christmas that we lose sight of what really makes us happy. The traditions, family, friends.. etc.
So I thought about this for a few days and I have to admit I was a little discouraged and feeling like my kids do not appreciate all that they have. I was thinking about how to teach them.. I thought about a soup kitchen... doing things for others..etc. I'm still thinking about that but I came up with something so simple for now and it really worked! So I wanted to share it with you.
At dinner the other night I told everyone that I wanted to talk to them about something.. They all had that deer caught in headlights look on there face like "Oh no, what's Mom come up with now?" Anyway I told them it may sound a little corny but........... My oldest son said not without sarcasm "Is this something you saw on Oprah?" I said no. He then said "Dr. Phil?" I calmly said no, but thought seriously about sending him to his room without dinner...
So I told them I thought it was a good idea to focus more on things we have to be thankful for instead of the usual dinner conversation about who was mean at school and who did what to who. There is a place for that too but maybe less of it. So my idea was every night at dinner time we will all come up with 3 things we are thankful for and at least one has to be something to do with that day.
I was pleasantly surprised that after teasing me a little they all really enjoyed it. I was also impressed by what they came up with.. It really started some interesting conversation and we all left the table feeling uplifted. I was encouraged that my kids really DO appreciate all that they have and they do realize they are fortunate, they are just being kids when they complain.
It's amazing what a little gratitude can do!