Starting today, and hosted by the good-hearted folks at Kind Spring, the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge invites people of all ages to “tune in to all the ways in which we constantly receive.” The science of gratitude has swelled in recent years to support what people have known forever, that “an attitude of gratitude is a surefire way to fill your heart,” leading to a greater, richer sense of contentment:
“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” said Emmons. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.” ~ Dr. Robert Emmons
Many Oak Meadow faculty, staff, students, and families are taking part in the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, which delivers gratitude prompts, inspiration, and ideas to your inbox that encourage you to reflect on, share, and celebrate the things in your life that keep you humming.
It makes perfect sense that so many Oak Meadow families should be interested in a project like this; after all, Oak Meadow’s curriculum is carefully crafted to engage head, heart, and hand within a context of close personal relationships. Our families homeschool their children mainly because they love spending time with their children, and are deeply aware of and grateful for the privilege–and responsibilities–that parenting, particularly in the context of homeschooling, affords.
Many of the routines and rhythms for learning that are the foundation of Oak Meadow begin to cultivate a culture of gratitude early on, and can take many forms: nature walks engender a closer connection to nature and stewardship for the land, writing and journaling exercises invite introspection and reflection, reading together builds closeness, celebrating traditions and holidays keep families grounded, and preserving time for special projects–whether handcrafting gifts, handwriting letters and thank you notes, or taking part in a community service project–fosters a practice of reaching out and speaking from the heart.
“What are the things that you can’t see that are IMPORTANT? I would say justice, truth, humility, service, compassion, love…they’re the guiding lights of a life.” ~Jimmy Carter; 39th U.S. President
Oak Meadow offers many resources for families to tap into the rich offerings of ideas and inspiration out there. Our Pinterest boards, HEART and Autumn Delights, are filled with ideas for “cultivating compassion and gratitude, exploring what makes us–and others–happy, and providing opportunities for our children to be the best they can be through engaging and integrating heart, head and hand.”
Last year, our Living Education Journal featured an issue on Citizenship, and included wonderful essays on Kindness, the Importance of Intercultural Engagement, and resources and sources for inspiration. Our morning Facebook posts typically feature a daily dose of inspiration, often around the achingly beautiful way spending time with our children, whether homeschooling or not, invites us to slow down and appreciate the small moments in our daily rhythms that provide us with joy, contentment, and a deeper sense of gratitude.
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~ Cynthia Ozick
We will be sharing our stories of gratitude here In the Meadow and on our Facebook page, and hope you will join us in the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, to open your heart to the possibilities of abundance, and invite your children to do the same.
“True abundance does exist; it flows from sufficiency, in an experience of the beauty and wholeness of what is.” ~ Lynne Twist
Your turn: How do you cultivate a culture of gratitude in your family? What are your favorite activities, rituals, projects, and practices?