There is a really important tradition that seems to be slipping away in modern households – the tradition of saying grace. Now you may think that this is just a Christian tradition, but in fact it extends in some form or other to almost every culture and religion. There is certainly something to be said for giving thanks for the food we are about to eat. The more consciously you eat your food, the more slowly and lovingly you consume it, the more likely you are to eat less and only eat what nourishes you.
Grace can take many forms – thanking the spirit of the animal you’re about to eat, giving praise to a higher power, a small statement of gratitude that you have food on your table, or a hearty thanks to the person who made it!
In our home we use mealtimes as a chance to connect with each other, to notice the good in our lives, and to appreciate what we have, and it looks something like this…
We’ll start by checking in with everyone how their day was. Regardless of how good or bad each person’s day was, we then go around the table and each have a chance to say what our favourite part of the day was – one thing that we can be grateful for. I personally do this for myself in the evenings and find as many things as I can to be grateful for each day, but with little kids it’s easier to just notice one or two things – the point is more to help them to notice the good even in a bad day, and to develop the habit of gratitude and looking for the positive. My husband and I will do our best to model for the kids the ability to see joy in the little things in life – the rainbow in the sprinkler, seeing the kids when we got home, a laugh we had with a friend.
We then say our form of “grace”, a little song that I made up for the kids to include positive affirmations as well as gratitude for the meal. We sing it to the tune of Frere Jacques and the kids call it The Truck Song. It goes like this:
I am happy
I am healthy
I am strong
I am loved
Thank you for the food I eat
And that I have hands and feet
Let’s gobble up
My tummy’s grumbling like a truck!
Use ours, use a traditional one from your religion or culture, or make up your own. The point is to appreciate everything that you have, to truly appreciate having a wonderful meal, and then to eat it with this feeling of gratitude and not just gobbling it down without a second thought.
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