Monday, October 26, 2009


So we’ve started a new thing at mealtime now.

One of my favorite things at church is the candle lighting and/or stone placing. Everyone is given the chance to come up to the front and light a candle or place a stone that represents something he might want to celebrate, commemorate or just make note of. It can be positive or negative—it’s mostly just a chance for the congregation to know what’s going on in your life. Kind of a prayer request, I suppose.

I’ve wanted to introduce the concept to Harrison for some time now for a multitude of reasons. The most obvious, of course, is that I want to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the things in our lives that make us happy. I want him to learn to stop and reflect on what makes him happy and why.

I also want him to know that Robert and I are happy. I think sometimes that he gets kind of a raw deal because he only sees us at the end of the day when we’re tired and worn out and don’t seem as happy as we could be. I feel like this can help to show him that even though we’re tired, we still have things that made us happy at some point during the day .

Finally, I like the idea of our sharing these things because it gives us a point of conversation and allows us to be happy for each other’s joys throughout the day. I know that I like hearing about the good things the boys do during the day and I can only hope they find my little shard of sunshine appealing as well.

So the ritual is simply this: I have a big bowl I made in ceramics in college that is our collection point. Any vessel could be used—this is just what I had on hand. I bought a bag of stones at Michael’s the other day, but I think down the road I’m going to want to incorporate (and later replace with) stones I find out and about in my day to day living. The stones are in a cup on the counter and each person gets at least one stone at mealtime. We then take turns telling about the bright spots during our day. It might be something we are looking forward to (tonight, Harrison was grateful that Halloween is in five more days, for example) or it might be something that happened during the day (I was glad last night that Harrison and I had finally gotten around to sorting his toys) or it could just be a happy thought in general (Robert was glad one night that none of the kid were sick).

Whatever the appreciated thing is, the stone goes into the big bowl and each day more are added. I think it’s pretty cool to look in and see all that our family is happy about. Some nights, one or more of us might have more than one stone—those are my favorites because it tells me that the day was especially good.

I suppose at some point the bowl will be full and I’ll have to empty it out and start over. I think I’m just going to watch and wait for that, though, and see what happens. I bet whatever does happen, it’s going to feel pretty good.

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