I'm just curious if any of you have specific mealtime customs that are not prayers, per se. I want a way to encourage gratitude. Also, I grew up in a Christian home where we said grace before each meal, and I kind of miss sitting together before a meal to focus on the gathering and pause before eating.
I had considered the option of having everyone at the table name one or two things that they were thankful for. And I found this website with suggestions: http://secularseasons.org/celebrations/graces.html.
So, my question is what is your family's custom, if any?
My wife, 11 year old daughter, and I started a family tradition of "saying our thankfuls" before a meal. We just each share two things from our day we're thankful for, going round the circle twice. I've considering also adding a "wonder" - sharing something that impressed or amazed us that day.
We started doing thankfuls in response to Christina Carter's podcast and book, "Happiness Matters." Her recommendations are science-based, supported by research. It has been shown that gratitude habits do improve feelings of happiness and satisfaction. She gives many suggestions on different habits you can employ.
And, I do notice that the act of sorting through the day's accomplishments, interactions, kindnesses, etc. in order to find something to share, then speaking aloud what I'm thankful for and why, does help. It doesn't give you any immediate adrenaline rush or anything like that, but it improves your overall mood. I probably notice the effect more when we forget to do our thankfuls - after a day or two I feel my mood slipping, then realize we haven't been doing them!