Joyful family life comes from a family culture of gratitude. And joy begets joy. It is a fact of human nature that we move toward what we focus on. That knowledge alone is a significant tool in making important changes in your family life.

Too often, we look for occasions to be offended. And we generally find them. We often expect bad things to happen, sometimes as a means of protecting ourselves from disappointment. But what winds up happening is that we become pessimistic, baffled, disheartened, angry… empty. And that feeling can spread through a family and invade every aspect of life. It is often subtle, leaving us with a vague sense of need.

Gratitude changes everything. It changes your point of view entirely. It is like seeing through new eyes. It makes loving – the act of caring for oneself and others – easier, richer, complete. Gratitude allows us to not only love our families more fully, but to reach out to others in small but meaningful ways every day, and in everything we do. Gratitude is a massive catalyst for change in our own lives, and in the world around us.

It’s surprising how quickly an attitude of gratitude can take root and flourish – in ANY family. It matters not at all how far from ideal a family is. It can be done in a breath. As long as it takes to pick up notebook and pen is as long as it takes to make an immediate and lasting change.

Being thankful in all things, today, right where you are physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally has the power to radically transform lives. It requires no special skill. All that is required is a desire to try, a notebook and a pen.

Choose a notebook from your favorite bookshop, one with a nice cover– or make your own from a good quality composition book that you cover in paper, fabric, or other media. And think about choosing a special pen to write with. One that feels really good in your hand, one that is beautiful to you. Writing in your journal should feel important, significant. Because it is.

Copyright 2011 Brian and Nissa Gadbois