At our family dinner table, we play the Appreciation Game. Everyone comes out a winner.
Even on days when the kids haven’t been getting along, I ask each to say at least one thing they appreciate about each of the other members of the family – including each sibling and parent.
I also ask my kids to start and end each day with a prayer of thanksgiving with a special emphasis on the people who make a positive difference in their lives. To start each day counting their blessings, they are primed to look for the positive during that day. At day’s end when I would tuck them into bed, they will recall the good that they have been given; again, a positive way to fall asleep.
I practice the same rituals, and it has helped me through difficult and challenging times in my life. Each morning, the first person I think of before I get out of my bed is the person lying next to me – my wife.
No matter what the day has brought and even when we have had disagreements, I have continued my ritual of appreciation. Invariably, the good that I have been given through the blessings of this relationship and the daily devotion of my wife over many years outweighs the minor challenges of the day.
The simple act of appreciation may sound simple or simplistic, but it has helped me keep perspective – on what matters most to me and what really makes a difference in the life of my family.