By Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron

Growing up, our mother would always tell us how lucky and fortunate we were for having food on the table, a roof over our head and a great education. My brothers and I would always disappear when one of those ‘starving children of Ethiopia’ informercial would come on. We knew that it would set our mother into this long monologue on how grateful we should be. So we did what any smart kids would do, fake a sudden case of the runs and hide in the bathroom or my favorite sudden sleeping sickness induced by an earlier sting from the infamous TseTse fly. This would only last for the duration of the commercial, upon when we would magically reappear, return like nothing happened and happily continue regular programming!

I never understood why our mother insisted on us feeling guilty about having food, shelter and education. she was the one paying and providing for them, after all!

Now as a mother, I find myself having the same conversations with my son and I understand that my mother was not interested in making us feel guilty. Not in the least! She wanted us to be grateful.

An attitude of gratitude is such an important personality trait to possess. Unfortunately, many of us have not been taught the importance of being grateful. We are taught to get more, achieve more, acquire more and to never be satisfied.

As I am learning this myself, I am also teaching my son. We have what we call: A Grateful Bowl.  It is a glass bowl, that we decorated with super heroes and affirmations. Located on our dining table, we take the time each night during dinner to write on a piece of paper something we are grateful for and place it in the bowl. It can be as important as being grateful for food to being grateful for the trees. We also make those who visit us, write down something they are grateful for. We started this practice about two years ago and have yet to run out of things to be grateful for.

Reflecting on what we have today, what we have accomplished so far, our lives, makes my son and I feel like a million bucks every day!

What are you grateful for today?