While I imagine we often consider the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as the prime time to spend with family, it turns out that the summer can be just as eventful. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day having just passed, these holidays provided me time to reflect on gratitude and respect for my family – both the one I was raised in and the one I married in to.
I look to my family to provide an honest soundboard, an unwavering support system, and a helping hand with life’s problems. Family are the ones who teach us what is important in life and the value of gratitude and love, among other things. With my busy lifestyle, I find many opportunities to be grateful for family.
My father taught me the importance of gratitude. He helped me to understand that when we chase happiness, we focus on desire. In doing so, we often feel unsatisfied and the happiness we seek eludes us. Gratitude, on the other hand, makes us aware of what we have and helps us to place value on it. The mere act of feeling grateful fills our mind with both optimism and possibility. As such, happiness naturally comes to us.
As you make your summer plans and then trod through your busy schedule, do not forget to make time to spend with your family. A few minutes in the park or a phone call to our grandmother can remind us of how much we already have. It can help us to take time to treasure what we so often take for granted. Feeling gratitude begets feeling happy. Reminding ourselves of what we have is a healthy practice that brings happiness to us. Indeed, I am grateful and filled with happiness knowing you are reading this message. So, I thank you for spending a few minutes reading my words, and I thank the long summer days and warm summer nights for allowing me to spend a few extra moments with the ones I love.
Amanda Strunk Miller