Approximately two years ago (when GTD was somewhere under the 300 mark, anyway), we had been meeting as a small home group for about a year. One evening, instead of teaching a typical lesson, Tom handed each of us a stack of papers he had printed out. "Read this", he said, "and notice how her voice changes as the days go by." Turns out he had been following the Giving Thanks Daily Page since it's beginning, and he was fascinated by the difference he was seeing in the tone and approach that Shawn had as the days went by. After we read the pages, Tom put a challenge out to all of us: start our own daily journal of thankfulness. All of the good-intentioned adults dutifully began the undertaking, excited to experience the same kind of refreshing change in our perspective. We all made it a few weeks, but our individual commitment levels didn't hold up. To the extent we participated, we were blessed, but the real surprise was our kids. We have four children, and each of them took the assignment to heart from day 1. They even took their journals on vacation with them, faithful to the daily discipline of writing down something they were thankful for.
Our youngest, who was nine at the time, lasted the longest. After our house was destroyed by the tornado, she was in a panic because she couldn't find her thankfulness journal. We did end up finding it buried under some debris, and she kept on writing every day. It is so humbling to go back and read some of her simple, powerful entries from that time. "Day 103-Today I am thankful that we were safe in the bathtub during the tornado." Day 125-"Today I am thankful that Mom found some of my Webkinz at our destroyed house and washed them for me." Somewhere along the crazy journey of this past year, she finally tapered off as well. But we all grew and changed by giving thanks daily!