By Dr. Melissa Bahamonde, Ph.D. of Soul Positive Life
A few years ago, I unexpectedly found myself in the hospital recovering
from a surgery that went south. I spent my days in bed trying to heal,
and making daily trips to wound care. It was during this time that I learned
my greatest lesson in life, to be passionately grateful for all the little miracles
that occur daily. When all I could think about was picking up my
little girl again, something I was unable to do for many months, I began to
learn to be grateful for things I previously took for granted. Eventually, my
gratitude extended even to the painful parts of my recovery and healing.
When I returned to my life as a full-time school psychologist and mother, I
vowed to take these lessons with me and help my daughter learn how to
count your blessings.
Practicing gratitude, is not a novel idea. It has become almost cliché
to see people on social media or on television talking about gratitude and
gratitude journals. However, as my Girl Scout Co-Leader and I began
to plan activities for our girls this year, we wanted to make sure we were
mindful of ways in which we could begin to instruct and encourage our
girls in practicing gratitude. This seemed like a new spin on a popular idea
and helped me find ways in which I could share some of the lessons I had
learned with my daughter.
As part of putting this goal into action, our Girl Scout Troop partnered
Be passionately grateful for all little miracles.
with the Thomas Promise Foundation to give back to local families and
encourage the girls to practice gratitude while helping other children. If you haven’t heard of this organization, your children may have seen some
of their friends receive black plastic bags on Fridays at their local public
school. These plastic bags contain enough nonperishable food to provide
a child with several meals over the weekend. Volunteering with Thomas
Promise seemed like a valuable way to allow our girls the opportunity to
try to understand how some of the things we take for granted, like having
enough food to eat, are blessings that go unrecognized. We arranged for
the girls to volunteer at the warehouse where the food bags were packed,
and had them package hundreds of food bags for local children.
During our visit to Thomas Promise, the girls were given information
about the organization and allowed to ask questions. Many of them did
not realize that children often went without food on the weekends. Some
of them had seen the black plastic bags being passed out to their classmates.
As we worked in an assembly-line fashion, the girls often shared
the various things in their life they were thankful for, while smiling and happily
packing bags. During this process something amazing happened.
These little girls worked together as a team for over an hour, in a cold
warehouse, and not one of them complained! On a regular day I can’t
even get my child to make it through a grocery trip without complaining
or whining. The girls even decided to continue to work longer than our
arranged time so they could package over 400 bags of food for local
children. As we took a group photo, the girls were giddy. Almost as if they
had spent the day at an amusement park, smiling, laughing, and sharing
that they did not want the experience to end. Collectively, the girls decided
they would like to continue volunteering at Thomas Promise. I can’t help
but think they may have learned, even in a small way, the power and joy
of practicing gratitude.
Daisy Troop 50303
24 • DECEMBER 2019 813.682.9364 FLORIDA WOMEN MAGAZINE