At Shipley, we spend the month of November giving special focus to the second half of our motto: Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing. Giving to others and giving thanks are hallmarks of this time of year, and they are undoubtedly acts of grace.
I love the word and concept of grace, and appreciate the fact that it’s a guiding light for all we do at Shipley. Grace manifests in so many ways: you can move with grace, act with grace, possess grace, receive grace, be called “Your Grace,” and you can even say grace.
When we say grace, we express gratitude for the food we are about to eat. Gratitude is one of the 24 character strengths—an important component of Shipley’s Positive Education framework (read more about character strengths in this blog post). Research indicates there are both emotional and physical health benefits when gratitude is practiced regularly, particularly with some kind of written component.
Although gratitude is my signature character strength, I don’t have a regular gratitude practice. And even though eating dinner together as a family is important in my house, we have never made a habit of saying grace. That’s why I’ve decided that this Thanksgiving will be a good time to begin my family’s daily gratitude practice.
Rather than just expressing thanks for the food we are about to eat, I’ll invite my family to participate in a daily ritual of taking a quiet moment before dinner to reflect and share one thing for which we are grateful, and record it in a family gratitude journal. We will share thanks for people, things, feelings, experiences, and more, and I can only imagine the joy we will feel when we read the journal in months and years to come.
I invite you to join me in starting a family gratitude journal this Thanksgiving. Let’s commit to an almost-daily practice over the course of the next 30 days and reconnect in the New Year. What benefits did your family experience? How did it make you feel? Let’s start making a habit of grace and gratitude together and see where it takes us.
In the meantime, you can learn more about the benefits of practicing gratitude and some recent research on saying grace in America.
Gratitude & Grace Reading List
All about gratitude from the ultimate authority on Character Strengths, the VIA Institute on Character
Analysis on Research about Americans & Saying Grace
Psychological Benefits of Saying Grace
Your Brain on Gratitude: How a Neuroscientist Used His Research to Heal From Grief
14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science