Monday Minute - Thankfulness November 23 2009

Have you noticed that sometimes when kids receive something, they communicate that what they have received is somehow not good enough?

This is, as you can probably tell, a pet peeve of mine. With my own children, my favorite phrase is, "I rather you just said thank you."

I didn't engineer this particular phrase cognitively or with any kind of intention. I try to model responsible emotional communication with my kids, and this is how I was genuinely feeling at one point in the last several years. The phrase stuck.

And as I started using this phrase with my kids, like so many of life's lessons, it started to ring true for me.

I like to complain sometimes, and I have found it to be a downward spiral. When I feel myself starting to slide down it, I say to myself, "I rather you just said thank you," and then I start going down the list of what I'm thankful for, especially regarding whatever I'm complaining about at the time.

This doesn't mean I don't ever complain - I think it's healthy to express emotion in responsible ways. But I also think there's a stopping point, at least for my own sanity, especially because there's so much to be thankful for.