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Grateful For Our Knuckles

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.  

Gratitude Share: 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.

Mindful Little Spotlight: One Young Leader Brings Basket Brigade to Families in Need

Millions of people around the globe have looked to motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins for personal and professional development over the past four decades. But for one 12-year-old girl from Northern California, watching just one of his videos about his childhood struggles with poverty and the incredible compassion his community showed his family was enough to inspire her to spring into action. 

Continue reading “Mindful Little Spotlight: One Young Leader Brings Basket Brigade to Families in Need”

Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Finding Calm in the Holiday Chaos

For the entire month of December, I feel my anxiety steadily increasing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure my kids feel genuine gratitude for all of the things they have (a house, a bed, food and water, clothes) and don’t spend all their time thinking about what gifts they should get. I don’t expect my young children to think beyond themselves without a little help so this year we made kits for the homeless and created keepsake boxes for their babysitters. Continue reading “Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Finding Calm in the Holiday Chaos”

#GivingTuesday: Empower Littles to Give the Gift of Kindness

#GivingTuesday is a global opportunity to support the organizations you love that are doing good in the world. We hope you’ll support us here at Mindful Littles where our mission is to spark children and families to engage in mindful, compassionate action through service learning experiences, creative yoga and mindfulness programs and heartfelt parenting resources. Sounds pretty good, right? Here are a few highlights about the experiences we’ve led in the last two years. Continue reading “#GivingTuesday: Empower Littles to Give the Gift of Kindness”

A Letter From Our Founder: Giving Thanks Today for a Compassionate Tomorrow

This Tuesday, November 27th, is Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving, whether it’s of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community.  

To Our Mindful Littles Family & Friends:

With heartfelt gratitude, I share this letter on Thanksgiving morning as a mother of two young girls, who are my drive and inspiration for all our work with Mindful Littles.

Sometimes it feels as though there is an endless barrage of difficult news to digest, from ongoing mass shootings to unstoppable fires to personal family tragedies. As parents, while we may recognize not everything in life is in our control, the prospect of raising our children in uncertain times can feel scary. What I’m learning — and it is a practice each and every day — is that the most powerful gift we can give our children is to teach them to believe in themselves as courageous, compassionate beings. No matter what life brings, the most important tool they have is how they respond in a given situation: with perspective, with relentless faith in their own capacity to be loved and share love and to stand for who they are authentically with courage.    Continue reading “A Letter From Our Founder: Giving Thanks Today for a Compassionate Tomorrow”

Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Gratitude & Thanksgiving

It is mid-November, therefore we must begin preparing for 1) a sumptuous feast to end all feasts and 2) extended time spent with family, friends and neighbors and 3) all the high and low feelings that come with embracing the season. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. What if we carved out a portion of that preparation energy and diverted a bit to fully embrace (in ourselves) and encourage (in our littles) feelings of gratitude both leading up to and on Thanksgiving Day? Continue reading “Mindful Parenting Round-Up: Gratitude & Thanksgiving”

Dia de los Muertos Helps Us Honor Our Ancestors With Love and Joy

In the United States, skeletons, skulls and white painted faces more often than not make you think of haunted houses, creepy monsters and scary stories. Just across the border in Mexico, however, these symbols of death are all about joy and thanksgiving. That’s because Mexican culture celebrates death and the deceased while we often find it difficult to discuss death at all, let alone with comfort and ease. Continue reading “Dia de los Muertos Helps Us Honor Our Ancestors With Love and Joy”

Mindful Little Spotlight: Olivia and Alex Metz Deliver Halloween Costume Cheer

Kids can be so observant, but it’s not everyday you encounter kids with the pragmatism and dedication to translate what they see into a way to help others. When Northern California siblings Olivia and Alex Metz saw an opportunity to reuse Halloween costumes, they started the nonprofit Costumes4Kids to make sure those costumes found their way to kids in need.

We talked to Olivia and Alex, 10 and 17, about their work with Costumes4Kids and what motivates them to help others, both locally and around the world. Continue reading “Mindful Little Spotlight: Olivia and Alex Metz Deliver Halloween Costume Cheer”

Mindful Big Spotlight: Maya Smith, Executive Director of Born This Way Foundation

When one of the biggest pop stars on the planet invites you to help young people build a kinder world, you say, “Yes!” That’s exactly what happened when Lady Gaga tapped Northern California mom Maya Smith to help create Born This Way Foundation six years ago. Today, she is the foundation’s executive director. Continue reading “Mindful Big Spotlight: Maya Smith, Executive Director of Born This Way Foundation”