In recent times, we have been focussing in our house on being gracious and grateful – and, naturally, you know who’s going grey.
Somehow this notion of graciousness took my fancy as an overall concept that might provide a nice framework for the sort of behaviour that I would like my girls to demonstrate now and as adults. Graciousness feels like something that my grandmother was – kind, generous, polite, understanding, intelligent, elegant, not stooping to the uncouth and always rising above the lowest common denominator. It feels light to me, floating above the trivialities of life.
It’s quite a complex and nebulous concept really yet seemingly quite easily grasped by these children of mine, and it has provided a neat way of defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Of course the most fabulous facet of parenting is the way that your parenting challenges always result in the mirror being turned on yourself, and it’s a nice little test of my own behaviour – does my response to the adult equivalent of not getting the biscuit I want for lunch measure up to the graciousness test – would my grandmother be proud? Not always easy to face the test in the heat of the moment, but worth working on, and I am often found wanting.
As for gratefulness, that came from some reading I did a while ago and one thing this particular author mentioned really stuck with me – that one of the most powerful things that we can do to ensure our children’s happiness is to teach them the concept of gratefulness. And it’s so true – we can all think of people who are truly content, regardless of their circumstances and whatever the world throws at them, while we know others who seem to attract or create drama and are never happy, no matter what they achieve or attain. I had never thought of it in that light at all, but there is nothing surer than that the path to unhappiness is the constant striving for something that we don’t currently have, and it certainly makes sense that the converse is true. If we can be content with what we have, and grateful that we have it, then whatever else may come our way will truly be a bonus. I finish every day with a little visit to my slumbering beauties, and since I came across that pearl of wisdom I also remind myself that no-one could want for more than I have.
So, although the grey hairs are sprouting thick and fast, and the man with whom I share my life stopped yanking them out for me when I turned 40, despite global recessions, lousy summers, gloomy winters, tantrums and tonsillitis, as often as I can I try to turn my mind to what an absolute delight it is to be living this life and sharing its ups and downs with my wonderful family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. They are the ones that make this daily dance of life truly graceful.