Friday, April 24, 2009

Saying Thanks

When I was growing up my family said grace before dinner. But it was always the same grace. Just the one. Every time. I have to admit as a kid it was just rote mumbling that had little meaning to me. Except that it was the only thing standing between me and my mashed potatoes and pork chops.

It wasn’t a practice I kept up as an adult. Then a few years ago while visiting Lake Arrowhead I found this book in a gift shop. Saying Grace, Blessings for the Family Table edited by Sarah McElwain is a collection of blessings and sayings from around the world and throughout the ages. Covering a range of cultures and traditions, it has pretty much everything from ancient prayers to rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.


We started an instant tradition of taking turns reading from it each night. We flip randomly through the book and read whatever page we land on. Since it’s a surprise each night, the words are more likely to be heard. I like having a simple way to incorporate a thank you into our daily lives.


And on the subject of gratitude, recently I was tagged by Kim and Bish and Anne for the Lemonade Stand Award, which is given for showing great attitude and gratitude. And what did I do to show my great attitude and gratitude? I let it slide.


Oops. I don’t always get right on top of passing these things on. They make the rounds so quickly I feel like I’d just keep tagging the same people over and over. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them. Heck, I’m still amazed anyone takes time to read my blog or comment. Visiting my creative and funny and inspiring blog friends really is a bright spot in my day. Bright and refreshing. Like…well, lemonade. So thanks!!

17 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

Our family sometimes sings a praise before dinner - we used to do it even when the kids had friends over for dinner. Guests always thought it was . . . interesting.

LW said...

What a wonderful tradition…
I think I will get a copy and borrow your idea for holidays
and for when the whole family gets together for dinner.

My MIL use to type out a grace and pick someone at the table to read it aloud.
This may sound mean but it became a joke amongst my kids as to who was going to read
“The odd meme grace“. Let me tell you sometimes they were eyes rolling and controlled giggles.
I think I was the worst offender. I never thought I would say this but I miss that now, we still talk about it
every Thanksgiving.

Louise

adrienne said...

Kim - I'll bet the guests enjoyed it! In our case, singing might spoil the meal...

Louise - At big family gatherings my grandmother would say grace. There was plenty of fidgiting going on - they were looooooong.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I love that idea--I think it would make it better than reciting the same--even when we don't "recite prayers" here, they do become redundant.

Kelly said...

We sometimes say grace, too. My preschooler loves to say the one that he says before snack at preschool or my older two recite the Blessing Before Meals they memorized at Religious Education.
We've been doing something similar each night with a book but ours is the Life's Little Instruction Book (I think that's what it's called) that I gave to my hubby before we got married. It has three things to a page like Respect teachers. Plant a tree. Tell someone you love them. Things like that. We read a page each night and talk about it.

Anne Spollen said...

My boys used to say "Thank you for the food, but really thank for the dessert," so I sort of stopped doing it.

But that really is such a nice way to connect as a family. (And I'm scared to think of what they might say now at the table...maybe try again in a few years)

Bish Denham said...

That sounds like a really nice book and a beautiful tradition.

And your welcome for the lemonade stand. You make a great drink yourself.

adrienne said...

Green Girl - There's comfort in those repetitive rituals, too - but it's always nice to mix it up a little :)

Kelly - That sounds like a great little book too! And a nice tradition to go with it.

Anne - Yeah, there's a reason we don't improvise. And when the bird chimes in, things deteriorate...

Bish - I forgot to mention it has charming illustrations, too. That's what caught my eye in the first place.

ICQB said...

That sounds like a great little book. We probably could put it to good use around here, too.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love the idea of reading the book at dinner. I'll look for it. I'm the grace general at my house (NOBODY better eat til grace is said!) but it isn't easy to get hungry boys to concentrate. This might help!

Rena said...

Sounds like a great book, Adrienne, and I like how you use it to say grace each night. We used to be pretty good about saying it. Then we slacked off. Now it's a miracle if we're all eating at the table at the same time, more or less giving thanks for our food.

I have to laugh because the first thing that comes to my mind is Christmas Vacation where they're trying to get Aunt Edna to say grace. She looks puzzled, shakes her head and says, "Grace? She died 30 years ago!" Too funny.

Brenda said...

What a wonderful idea to randomly pick a new prayer to say each night...I'm going to share this with family and friends who have children still at home and who might not be listening as well as they should...Hugs...

adrienne said...

ICQB - There's a little of everything in there! I think it's delightful.

Becky - Grace general...ha! I think the easy participation does help.

Rena - I hardly remember that movie - we'll have to watch it!
We're not always together for dinner, either. We keep to a routine as much as we can.

Brenda - I have to say I'm surprised how my kids took to it. They're the first to remind me whose turn it is :)

K said...

We don't say grace in our house. I've been thinking about starting it up as a traditon. Or least making everybody say one thing they are proud of.

Great post.

adrienne said...

K - I like that idea. I've heard some families like to share their hi/low for the day - that sounds like a great family exercise, too.

Mary Witzl said...

We did a nice quick grace in our family, but my aunts and uncles were deeply, depressingly religious (fire & brimstone preacher included), and grace at their house was a long drawn-out affair and tough to bear when we were hungry. Which we usually were...

But I definitely see the value of encouraging real gratitude in our kids -- and ourselves, come to think of it -- so good for you for doing this! I like that one about 'thanks for the grub'. It's not to late to teach my kids that one...

adrienne said...

Mary - I also think there's nothing wrong with short and sweet! Especially with hungry kids around...