The Appreciation Game: Priming the Positive Pump

When my kids were young, I would make them play the Appreciation Game.

Sitting around the dinner table, we would take turns telling each of the other members of the family what we liked about them. Pretty easy, isn’t it? Not so easy for three little kids who had just been fighting.

It’s easier to find fault with those we live with. We get in each other’s way. We might compete and we have to compromise. We’re sensitized to unfairness.

But if we put a good effort into the game, everyone comes out a winner. We get to hear feel good compliments that may not otherwise be voiced. More importantly, by seeing the good in another, we can’t stop seeing it. Our relationships are enhanced.

When my kids grew up and no longer needed me to tuck them into bed and say prayers together, I would remind them to pray with thankfulness. As both a meditation and a prayer, I want them to do what I do – frame each day with thankfulness so that the first and last thoughts of the day are of appreciation for the good that we have received and the people in our life.

This attitude primes us to see the world from a perspective of grace and abundance. Though life may seem unfair, we often receive gifts we don’t deserve and may take for granted. When we see that we have been blessed through grace rather than merit, we are more inclined to be gracious and generous to others.

We can give to others unexpected acts of kindness that may help them reframe their own days. Today, be thankful for what you have and one thing to make someone else’s day.

Next: The Appreciation Game is not just for kids.

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About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
This entry was posted in Emotions, Empathy, Grace, Happiness, Love, Meditation, Parenting, The Qualities of a Child and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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