Say GraceWell here we go. We’re putting our spiritual selves online for everyone to read. But really, how can you travel the path to goodness without talking spirituality?

This story starts a week or two ago. Carl and I sat down for a meal with our kids. It was one of those rare moments when everyone was actually seated at the beginning of the meal. Carl and I sort of exhaled in unison and gave mental thanks for our meal. Then we started talking about how much we like and value the ritual of grace – the idea of paying hommage for our fortune and nourishment. In short, we think the idea of grace is meaningful and wonderful. The only problem is – well – we’re not really religious per se.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t the kind of people who think we are so lucky because of something specific we’ve done. There’s a certain element of mystique in it. We believe in the existence of a higher power, we’re just not really certain which one. But why should that stop us from giving thanks for our meal – from expressing gratitude – and sharing it with our kids?

And so we set off in search of a secular grace.  As usual, we started out by simply googling “secular grace”. This returned a variety of results – short and long – formal and extremely casual. The question came up: what do we really want from these words? And so our list of criteria emerged. It looked something like this.
1. Short
2. Focused on gratitude (for our many blessings) and joy
3. Positive
4. Kid friendly

We then took our top candidates and tried them on.  Here’s how it went.

(Note: Most of these were adapted from the comments on a great post by Helen Jane Hearn that we found on Offbeat Mama.)

Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you, Earth, for everything

(We love this. And we’re pretty sure this would be the winner for the kids. The only thing missing is a specific reference to our many blessings.)

For what we are about to receive let us be truly thankful

(The old standby.  It’s wonderfully short, but we felt it was missing a certain element of charm.)

We are thankful for these and all the good things of life. What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.

(This last one was adapted from a Woodsworth quote we found on Debate and Discourse.  We quite like this, but it feels just a little too grown up.)

For the Food Before Us
For the Friends Around Us
For the Love Between Us
We Give Thanks.

(This one feels really good as well, but, again, we’re missing that reference to the root of our gratitude – an acknowledgement of the many blessings we have.  But wait, what if we make a slight modification?)

For the Food Before Us
For the Love Between Us
For the Blessings All Around Us
We Give Thanks.

Ding ding ding.  We have a winner.

So, now, each night, we say grace.  We’re experimenting with the delivery.  Hold hands or not?  Close eyes or not?  But I think those things are a matter of personal preference.

And maybe the words are as well.  Perhaps our kids will want to change them someday.  Perhaps we will as well.  But, for now, we have a ritual.  A moment each night to just be present and acknowledge how wonderful our life is.  And, it feels really, really, really good!  Amen.


Interested in hearing more about our challenges?  Check out The Goodness Challenge.


Image: David Castillo Dominici /

About the Author

Just a small town mom trying to make the world a better place for my kids. One small change at a time.

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