Everyone knows the feeling of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and seeing their friends’ posts about the latest trip they’ve been on, or a fun event or a new accessory they have. “In essence, what we’re seeing is the top 1-2 percent of everyone’s life constantly,” says Jennifer Garman. “And it’s just drilling into our head like, ‘wow, I don’t have this, I don’t have that.’” It was this negative side of social media that gave Garman the idea to instill the practice of gratitude into her children. That, and an unconventional course at Yale University that she had heard about.
The Yale class, Psychology and the Good Life, or more commonly called simply the Happiness class, has been making headlines for its focus on finding a path to happiness. In learning about the course, which has become one of the most popular at the university, Garman discovered that one of its critical concepts is the importance of practicing gratitude. If there needed to be a whole course on gratitude, Garman realized that there was a need to share the merits of gratitude with everybody.
As a result, the Leesburg mom founded GratitudeMission.org. The company officially launched in January and began shipping its signature product, the Growing Gratitude Tree, this fall. The Gratitude Tree is a vinyl wall decal with customizable and removable branches and leaves that offer a space for people to write down what they are grateful for. The tree serves as a daily reminder to practice gratitude and offers a way to engage the whole family, especially children.
The tree has struck a cord, and Garman is already prepping to share her product on a national platform. After demonstrating the concept at the Home Shopping Network’s American Dreams Academy in 2017, Garman will be on air selling the Growing Gratitude Tree on HSN on Nov. 6. But Garman wants the time she has on air to help more than just her sales.
“I’m hoping that, honestly, I can take this into much more of a cause as opposed to a product. When I started this whole thing I kind of had in the back of my head, ‘how can I take this and really make a difference in the world?’” she says “[I want to] share with my kids that it’s not about money, it’s about the changes that you instill and make. That’s really why I decided to name my company GratitudeMission.org.”
Garman is planning on launching a subscription service that offers different decals for different months to add to the tree, including ornaments for Christmas and winter-themed decals for January and February. Look for Thanksgiving-themed decals in time
for next year.
And Garman says she’s only getting started when it comes to spreading gratitude. “I see this as the first of hopefully many things to come, and with that, the ability to give back and to help others.” // gratitudemission.org