The Appreciation Game I’ve taught my kids and practice myself has become an approach to our lives.
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
The Appreciation Game is not just for kids. For the rest of us, it’s a positive alternative to the Usual Old Game. Both games use the same board, pieces, cards and dice. The differences are the attitude and rules by which you play and live.
In the Usual Old Game, we compete with one another and forever run forward in a race to acquire more of what we want: power and pleasure, money and materialism. In the end, no one wins because players don’t help one another and we all die and can’t keep what we have acquired.
In the Appreciation Game, everyone is a winner – we enjoy what we have when we have it and love the ones we’re with. We are given gifts of grace which we give forward.
Most young people take their health for granted. They don’t realize how poorly they may sleep and how tired they will feel in future decades. Many will continue to smoke, eat poorly and abuse drugs and alcohol not appreciating the cumulative effects on their bodies over time.
In youth, other priorities prevail: relationships, school, work, making money and having fun. As parents, the wellbeing of our children and our marital relationships take precedence but for many, work may be all consuming. Again we may neglect our own health and our most important relationships.
In maturity, we have time and – if we have been hardworking, lucky and frugal – money, but we may not have the energy and health to travel and do what we desire. Coping with medical problems can consume our days.
In this life, we can have it all – youth, vigor, passion, security and adventure . . . but not at the same time. Our challenge is to live fully in the present and to enjoy every stage of this life.
Happiness is in loving what we have . . . not the alternative of wanting what we don’t.