#16: For a fulfilling life, all your family needs is THIS jar
Welcome to the 16th edition of The First School. And a big HELLO to all the new subscribers!
In this week’s edition, I’m going to introduce you to a jar that can do wonders for you and your family’s emotional and mental health. Trust me, it is as good as Aladdin’s magic lamp, or maybe even better!
It is not a jar of your favourite cookies or candies.
It is not a jar full of money.
It is not a jar of gold or diamonds.
Nor is it a jar full of your wishes, that you hope will come true someday.
But it is THE jar you will cherish having the most, as a family. Moreover, it is (almost) free!
Allow me to introduce you to the…
Jar Of Awesome
Pic Courtesy: creazilla.com
This is a great idea that I came across in the book named “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss. I felt it could be put to great use in nurturing gratitude in everyone, especially children!
The “Jar of Awesome” is a jar that stores all your little successes or moments of joy. Whenever you feel that the world is against you, this jar will remind you to look at the bright side. It reminds you to stay grateful for the little successes & opportunities you have had. It is as simple as that, but haven’t you heard that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”?
I maintain a gratitude journal, so this is nothing new
I can hear the voice in your head. But I disagree. The Jar of Awesome is very different from a gratitude journal that you secretly maintain. It is better, and more powerful! Also, it is one of the most powerful ways to nurture gratitude as a character strength in your child. And it doesn’t stop with your child, GRATITUDE becomes your family trait.
Let me explain how this concept works so that you can see why I’m a big fan of it.
How it works
Assign a transparent jar and label it “The Jar Of Awesome”
Place it such that it is always in your sight. (Next to your TV, maybe?)
Get sticky notes or coloured papers so that you can assign each family member to a particular colour. For example, if you are a family of three, get three colours of sticky notes. Why different colours, you may ask? This will help you identify who is contributing to the jar, and if all of your family members are invested in the idea.
Did your toddler speak for the first time? Did your 5-year-old volunteer to help you with household chores? Was there less traffic on your way back from work, that allowed you to spend an extra half an hour with your family? Whenever you celebrate a small win, write it on the coloured paper that is assigned to you, along with the date, and drop it in the jar.
When the jar fills up, you can read it together as a family, and even make a scrapbook out of it! (Your child may not follow it initially, but when you model gratitude as a parent, trust me, they will follow. And they will make you see the bright side of life, and take you back to your own childhood!)
The above steps are nothing more than a suggestion, so get creative as a family and get that jar ready!
Also, do you notice that this jar is in public view and is a shared responsibility, as opposed to your individual gratitude journal?
A few points to keep in mind
Be careful with the material you use. Glass may not be the safest choice if you have a very young child at home. Also, it need not be a jar at all. Get creative, but just ensure it is transparent.
Place it at a height that your child can easily reach.
Drop your gratitude note when your child is watching you or is in your vicinity. This is how you can consciously model the character strength you wish to nurture.
Persist. If you are the only one dropping notes into the jar, so be it. You will still feel great about it after a few days.
Why does gratitude matter?
I’ve ripped off this excerpt from the best resource I know of, the one and only Character Lab:
“When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt—you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting.”
This is my entry into the Jar of Awesome today:
“I’m grateful that my subscribers take time to read my posts, and have kind words for me to help me learn and stay motivated”
So what are you waiting for, have you created your Jar of Awesome yet? Leave your creative ideas here: