Joy is the end result we desire for our families and now is the best time to start on the path to get there.
The curated, beautiful images we see each day can be a slippery-slope to becoming dissatisfied with the reality in front of us. I often see my own life as a giant project that is currently “less-than.” It’s unusual to notice something in our lives and feel fully satisfied with exactly what we already have. Contentment is such a rarity in our culture, which fuels the desire for more and stokes the flames of materialism and anxiety. The constant comparisons result in chronic disappointment and disillusion.
Being satisfied is a quality that we have to strive to achieve because it will not come naturally.
Like many of us during the Thanksgiving season, I am more intentional about practicing gratitude. What I’m learning is that the sweet side-effect of gratitude is contentment. Contentment comes by way of satisfaction, and the end result is worth the effort — for us and our kids.
Satisfied + content = joy!
Joy is the ultimate fruit of gratitude, and it’s the prize for which we are all striving. The beautiful thing is that this formula works! As we shift the focus to the good in each day, we practice finding joy.
I see these side effects in my own family. They pickup on the thankfulness, too, and learn to take note of the good things we already enjoy more than the commercialism that ramps up this time of year. I see more laughter and less hustle so we can simply enjoy ourselves with contentment in the moment.
Oftentimes, we have to turn from what we wish for and accept what we have. Learning to be satisfied is a discipline that we can practice with intention. The action and emphasis is on the turning. We have power to decide what we consume via social media and to turn from the never-ending buffet of more. Just like with our diet or schedule, we must have the courage to say, “enough.”
How can we model gratitude and contentment for our little ones, teens and even grown children?
- Notice the good things in your home. Is it warm? Comfortable? Safe? Be grateful.
- Toss holiday catalogs as soon as they arrive. Don’t let a marketing company tell you about things you don’t even know you need. Instead, look for charities that will steward a gift well. Show your children that there are some who need what we already have (health care, meals, schooling).
- Relish the joy of serving! ‘Tis the season to volunteer, so enlist the help of your kids to pack shoe boxes, shop an angel tree or sort coats for the cold. Put together care kits for the homeless, sick children, neighbors or the elderly.
- Embrace delight in small things, especially nature. Notice the birds and sky. Enjoy a fire pit with delicious cocoa. Let your eyes sparkle when you greet your family. If you are a mama, then I know you are grateful indeed.
- Stop complaining…about anything, even the weather. Practice for one day at a time and every time you complain (or think to do so), replace the thought with three positives. We seem wired to notice the negatives and then we miss the joy!