GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019 - 33

bridges together

Gratitude - it's a life changer
BY ANDREA J. FONTE WEAVER

I

've been thinking about my late father-in-love, Walter,
who had the gifts of gratitude and contentment. I
would show up with our four boisterous boys - like
a bit of a tornado - and he would sit in the eye of this
"love-ly storm" with a smile on his face and a twinkle in
his eyes. Well-pleased and content. Anything I offered or
did - any kindness shown - he considered to be a huge
gift.
Walter taught me to trust more deeply. Trust that there
was good in the moment. Trust that "It'll be alright" - one
of his favorite sayings. Trust that "This too shall pass." Trust
that "It's darkest before the dawn". With trust, we are able
to be grateful.
In examining the different definitions of gratitude, we
read about being thankful, appreciative, expressing kindness, being content and well-pleased as well as having
trust.
Today - for what are you most grateful? Your grandchild? Sunshine? Freedom?
How do you express your gratitude? Does it begin
with your Higher Power - God? Your adult children? The
cashier who is kind?
How do you express kindness? Do you pay it forward -
sharing the currency of love?

The research behind gratitude

Gratitude in the face of adversity

In the past month our country has faced natural disasters,
mass-shootings (plural) and refugees trying to find respite under
the auspice of Lady Liberty. There are children sleeping in cars
instead of cozy beds. Families being ripped apart by opioid addictions. It can all seem so bleak.
It is perhaps in these darkest of times that we need to begin
to express gratitude. Gratitude that YOU have a child to love.
Gratitude that in every tragedy, there are helpers, as Mr. Rogers
taught. Gratitude that we can be instruments of change.
I hope that you will begin to cultivate or grow a deeper attitude of gratitude. Watch how your life and those around you are
transformed.
This is an excerpt from "Bridging Families" written by my
team at Bridges Together. We design and develop intergenerational engagement programs for families, schools and
communities. Each month we produce a How To Guide (H2G)
on a different theme. To learn more, contact us at Hello@
BridgesTogether.org.

Even with declining health, Walter Weaver had an attitude
of gratitude - especially for his grands.

There is more and more research showing the benefits
* Better sleep
of "an attitude of gratitude". People with gratitude experience:
Harvard-researcher, Shawn Anchor, explains, "writing down
* Better physical and psychological health with reduced stress, three [new] things you're grateful for every day for 21 days in a
less toxic chemicals, more resilience and healing from trauma
row significantly increases your level of optimism and it holds
* More relationships in their lives with increased empathy
for the next six months."
and less aggression
33 GRAND

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2019

Click for
GRATITUDE
CONVERSATION
STARTERS
Andrea J. Fonte Weaver is founder & executive director
of Bridges Together, Inc., an internationally recognized
nonprofit providing intergenerational training and tools for
grandparents, schools, communities, and companies. For
more info, visit: www.BridgesTogether.org


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GRAND Magazine - January/February 2019

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