I started this little thing I do every November where each day I note something that I am thankful for. Usually, I note things like friends, family, kids, etc. But early on this month, I noted that I am thankful for my health. My daughter saw this post and asked what I really meant. I said, “Hey, let’s go for a walk and talk about it.”
One of my favorite things to do to draw out conversation with my teenage daughter is to get her to walk and talk. I explained to her that we are very lucky we could go on this walk because our legs work. We can hold each other’s hand (yes, I do that with my teen daughter – but she only allows it on our walks) because we can feel the heat of each other’s hand. We can see the leaves changing and the setting sun just beyond the snow-capped mountains. We can hear what each other has to say (assuming she listens to me).
Beyond these basics of human functions I believe it is good to remind my daughter what COULD be so we remember to appreciate what we have already. My mom had a quadruple by-pass surgery several years ago now. She has heart disease. I explained to my daughter how scary it was to think about my mom dying when I was young (she didn’t die – but she did have to change her lifestyle to integrate healthier eating and exercise). I told her I am grateful that I don’t have heart disease. That I can take a simple walk and talk with her.
Being grateful (especially for your health) serves many purposes – gratitude is said to help decrease stress, combat depression, lower your risk for heart disease and strengthen your immune system. So it’s like you get two for one special on staying healthy and being grateful about it.
I am thankful for my health because it provides me an opportunity to connect with my daughter. I hope that the habit of walk and talk is one that she can share with others through her life. I hope that when she has a problem she doesn’t know how to deal with she says, “C’mon let’s go for a walk.”