3 ways kids in a backyard can teach you to be grateful
While a few days ago I felt like I could do anything, yesterday was quite different. My life has not changed overnight so there were no external reasons to blame my moods on. I don’t have these kinds of days too many times, so usually, I just hang in there and know that the next day will be a better one. When one of these “black clouds” is over my head, it is a good time to count your blessings, and remember about these little things that we usually take for granted.
There are hidden treasures at our doorstep every day and we rarely take the time to acknowledge them. Children are, if we are open to listen to them, the best teachers in that matter. Follow me and Gabriel for a quick tour of our backyard.
1. Appreciate what you have
Instead of focusing your attention on what is missing, not perfect or just so ordinary, seek out to look at everything from another perspective, through the eyes of a child. Get on all four if you need to! Stop whatever you are doing, bring your inner child with you and go outside for five minutes and look around.
In fact, do the opposite: close your eyes. Is there anything different that you can discover using your senses? What do you hear? What can you smell? What kind of sensation do you feel on your skin? Try to guess and then open your eyes and follow the cue.
You may witness bees shoveling around to gather pollen and get totally lost there for quite a while. With a child mindset these simple and humble observations are quite fascinating!
If you have a garden and you are like me, days can pass by without any intervention. Just walking and trying to notice some changes is like an adventure in itself Life is a miracle and I am always in awe to see how a tiny seed, some sun, great soil, air and water can create the food I need to keep me energized, healthy and alive.
2. Share your bounty with your friends
When harvest time knocks at your door, you may have more than your share of the same vegetables or fruits. Sharing your abundance with your neighbor’s or swap some produce is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your community. When we give, we feel uplifted. There is no way to stay in a bad mood when you see someone else’s eyes light up at the sight of your offering.
Don’t forget that when we give, we also receive. As long as this comes from the heart, the feeling of gratefulness and abundance is yours. What a gift to yourself as well!
3. Change one habit and get a sense of adventure (without leaving home)
When we think about getting kids outdoor or in nature we often think we need to go somewhere, out there, away from home. I can understand the drag. Same apply here on our quest to be grateful. Being in nature is most of the time just a few steps away. When our time is crunched, just doing something usual in an unusual place might be just what you need to brighten your day. A few days ago, my son decided he was preparing lunch for us and made me a surprise: we were to eat outside. I was expecting the patio table and usual chairs. To my surprise, this was a little bit more rustic, but so much fun! And that is how our friends (aka our chickens) got to share the bounty on our leftover plate as soon as we left the table.
Young children have a sense of wonder that as adult we tend to lose by being so busy with our responsibilities. Nature has a lot to offer in terms of wonderment. That is why I think those too ingredients together, the eyes of a child and any green space can make you feel grateful for your life. I bet if you tried any of these ideas, the black cloud would leave you before you even realize it. What do you do to change your mood? Is grounding yourself in nature is something that works for you as well?