For Family Home Evening tonight, we talked about gratitude. I shared a story from this month's Ensign magazine, which told about a high school student who wrote an essay on 100 things she was grateful for. She took the assignment a step further and set a goal to make a list of 1000 things. Her family joined the cause, and at last count, the gratitude total was 1,213.
I decided our family should take the "100 Things" challenge. We had fun making a list of our blessings, from the basics (home, electricity, clean water) to the entertaining (music, sports, books) to the very specific (individual family members, toothbrushes, soap). Everyone contributed, and our list now hangs on the living room wall.
Before we started, a little neighbor girl came to play. I told her we hadn't eaten dinner yet, but after we ate we would be having FHE. She was astonished that the kids couldn't play all day Sunday and again Monday night. I told her about our activity and encouraged her to go home and make her own list (she didn't want to come in and join us). She thought such a feat would be impossible.
To close our lesson, I shared another Ensign article in which a woman set a goal to pray only prayers of gratitude for an entire week. She pledged not to ask for a single favor or blessing, and she had quite a transforming experience. I took that challenge a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I found that as I expressed my gratitude for the blessings in my life, I felt much less concerned about what I needed or wanted. It was still hard; of course my natural instinct is to discuss my lack rather than my bounty. I felt an increase of faith as I put my needs on hold and focused on the good in my life. The experience changed the way I prayed and made me realize, again, that my Heavenly Father knows what I need before I ask Him for it.
He also blesses me when I don't deserve it, and for that I am especially grateful.