I realized the other day that in my 40 years of living on this earth, I don’t think I have ever stopped to thank my knuckles — yup, my knuckles. We often forget this mundane part of our body that does so much for us each and everyday. I wanted to share this simple insight with my girls so we played a little game.
Round 1: Place a marker (or any object) on the floor or table and pick up it up with your hands. Turn the object over in your hands and really feel what it’s like it hold it. Ask your kids to notice how their hands work to hold the object.
Round 2: Make your hands as stiff as possible with absolutely no bending allowed (the kids loved this no bending challenge). Now try to pick up the marker with your hands.
In Round 2, the task becomes pretty tricky. In fact, it’s almost impossible to pick up any sort of object without the help of the other stiff hand.
After we played both rounds, we discussed that Round 2 was much harder. I asked the girls if they’d ever stopped to thank their knuckles and how hard they work for us. I mean it took me 40+ years to say thanks to mine!
We then talked about the other little things we don’t notice on or about our bodies or in our homes that help us all the time, like doorknobs and eyelashes. It’s amazing what you realize when you pay attention to small details and kids are expert observers once they get started!
As a child, I recall looking at cars and thinking that we are in such awe of the end-product and yet the nuts and bolts get almost no love. Our knuckles might not be the most interesting or exciting parts of our bodies, but without them, we’d have a hard time using our hands. Noticing our own nuts and bolts is a great way to appreciate often overlooked necessities we don’t always notice in our everyday lives.
Gratitude is simply perspective. When we’re mindfully aware of the most ordinary details of our lives, like our knuckles, we don’t have to search far or dig deeply to feel gratitude. We do, however, have to commit to a practice of shifting our perspective, of tuning into a different way of looking at our life. It’s then that we realize that it’s the most ordinary that’s providing us with the most extraordinary abilities as humans.