A few nights ago, I was reading a new book we had just gotten from the library to our one-year-old daughter. This little children’s book was so jam-packed full of wisdom that I felt like I had to share some of it here.
The book in question is called The Grumbles: A Story About Gratitude, written by Tricia Goyer and Amy Parker. I’ve decided that this little story is a must have for families everywhere. It has a great lesson for the children, but I honestly think that it is even more important and impactful to the parent, older sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle or whoever it may be that is probably reading the book to the child.
I’ll share the basics of the story here and then dive into just how impactful its simple concept can be in one’s life.
The Grumbles Family
The Grumbles family consists of Mom, Dad, and three kids.
They lead a pretty much normal life and seem to at least be content with the way their life is.
Until a couple of things start to “fall out of place.”
Dad comes home to a pile of bills that must be paid.
Mom goes about each day picking up after the kids, doing all of their laundry, etc., etc.
The kids start getting on each others’ nerves and doing things simply to annoy each other.
Their normally happy baby is grumpy and crying more than usual because he is hungry.
The story continues, and these little things keep piling up.
Well, eventually this leads to everyone being stressed, angry, and upset with one another, with themselves, and with life in general.
Instead of being happy, cheery, and picking one another up, they are irritated, grumpy, and tearing each other down. They complain nonstop about how “unfair” life is and how things should be different for them.
After this, there is a knock at the door. Who is it? Why, it’s Grandma Grateful!
Grandma Grateful walks through the door as happy as a clam.
She immediately looks around at all of the grumpy, grumbling members of her family, and she starts to laugh because of their general sense of angst and complaining. She tells them that they need to put everything in perspective and start taking a different look at their life.
Dad, there are bills to pay, yes. Isn’t it great that you have a wonderful job with which to pay those bills? And that by paying those bills, your family has all of the necessities that they will ever need to live a decent life?
How wonderful is that??
And, Mom, is laundry annoying? Of course. But isn’t it great that we have such cool machines that honestly do most of the work for us? And how wonderful is it that there is so much laundry to do? That means that your family has plenty of nice clothes to wear and that you have so many wonderful family members that you get to help take care of.
Kids, be grateful that you have siblings to be your friends and to look out for one another. Don’t be so angry at each other for using each others’ things. How great is it that you have so many wonderful things to share?
Everyone, the baby is super upset because he’s hungry! Good thing that we have food to feed him with. What a blessing it is to have a delightful little baby in the family to take care of and love.
She goes through all of the troubles that they’re facing and completely turns them around to be wonderful and positive aspects of life.
All just through a changed outlook and an updated attitude!
I truly love this little story and think that it can have a profound impact on each of our lives if we let it.
So, the question remains:
Will You be a Grumble or a Grateful?
My favorite part about this whole idea is that it’s all up to us!
Every single one of us will go through, at the bare minimum, some of the things that started to make the Grumble family . . . grumble. We all have bills to pay, dishes to clean, annoying siblings (or other annoying people to deal with), and things that just don’t seem to go our way.
When these things start to pile up, and we start to feel stressed out about life or that everything is just unfair, we have a choice to make.
Will we grumble? Or will we be grateful?
(Or, like in this life lesson from Lemonade Stand Founder Greg Trimble-will you be a fountain or a drain?)
How are we going to approach situations? What attitude do we want to have?
We can have either one! I’m not going to say that there is only one right answer. You can certainly grumble about everything that life throws your way and make sure that everyone else in the world knows how difficult and terrible your life is.
At the end of the day, you’re still going to make it through life just like anyone else will.
The point is, couldn’t life be lived in a better way?
Can’t we, even during times that make us want to grumble and be frustrated and annoyed with everyone and everything, still find ways to be grateful?
When your mind shifts to one of gratitude rather than one of “why me?” Your entire life will change.
The perspective that you have and the attitude that you choose makes all of the difference in the world.
I’ve written about gratitude before (check it out), so I’ll just summarize here why this is such a powerful concept to me.
Gratitude changes who we are. It has the power to change everything about us.
When you develop an “attitude of gratitude,” your point of view and demeanor will shift in essentially every way possible and will be for the better no matter the situation that you are currently encountering.
You will become a more positive and happy person. Positivity and happiness generally lead to better overall health, longer life, and more enjoyment out of the things that life has to offer each of us.
I don’t know of many things that are more powerful than the concept of gratitude and being grateful for every single thing that happens to you.
When you exercise gratitude, you also have a massively positive impact on the people around you. All of that extra positivity and happiness tend to rub off on other people. People like being around you more. They want to work with you and learn from you.
By being grateful, you have the power to effect positive change everywhere that you go.
The opposite is also true when you are a grumbler.
Grumbling and complaining about every less-than-fortunate thing that happens in your life will not only bring you down, but it has the power to bring others down right along with you.
This can be a force of destruction and will effect negative change wherever you are.
Wouldn’t we all rather be a positive force and an example of light and goodness to the rest of the world than someone who instantly dampens the mood when they walk through the door?
One of the first places to start with that is in your own attitude about life and its many challenges.
Start exercising gratitude and take note of the powerful and positive change that it has in your life.
Remember, it is up to you! Will you be a Grumble? Or will you be a Grateful?