An Attitude of Gratitude
Teaching our children to say “thank you” is important, but truly instilling a sense of gratitude in them is another matter entirely. Gratitude goes beyond good manners—it’s a mindset and a lifestyle. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation or thanks. God is good and all gifts come from him. “All good giving and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17). Therefore, satisfaction, happiness and spiritual growth are direct results of recognizing the many blessing God has bestowed upon us. Gratitude is like a muscle. It takes practice to make this quality strong in our children.
So how can we help our kids to live gratefully? Gratitude starts at home and here are some tips to help you start growing an attitude of gratitude in your own household.
Name your blessings. Make recognizing blessings a constant conversation with God throughout the day. Together, thank God in the morning for another day, before opening a gift and prior to eating a meal. Have your child keep a gratitude journal and write down a few things they were thankful for each day before going to bed. Realizing the good in their lives results in a quick and significant shift of attitude.
Be a grateful parent. It’s an invaluable exercise to tell our kids why we’re grateful for them! It goes without saying that we love our children, and that we’re thankful beyond words for their love, their smiles, their hugs and so much more. When we tell them what makes them special to us, their self-esteem is boosted for the right reason. Our example show them that gratitude extends well beyond material things.
Keep thank you notes on hand. Sadly, sending thank you notes seems to be a dying art. But, it’s actually a perfect way to encourage kids to express gratitude.
Encourage them to give back. The old saying, “it’s better to give than to receive” has stuck around for a reason. It really does feel great to help someone else out, especially if done as a family. When kids give their time and energy to help others, they are less likely to take things like health, home and family for granted.
Insist on politeness and respect all around. When we teach our children to treat others with dignity and respect, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the ways in which those folks contribute to and improve their lives. By the same token, they’ll be less likely to take assistance and kindness for granted, and more likely to give it the value it deserves.
Find the silver lining. It’s human nature to see the glass half-empty from time to time — and children are no exception. When kids complain, it can be helpful to try and find a response that looks on the brighter side. It’s called an “attitude of gratitude” for a reason—it’s about perspective and circumstance. As parents we need to remember that it’s more productive to teach our children to be resilient and focus on the positives.
In this season of thanksgiving, know that we here at St. Ann Model Schools are grateful to you, the wonderful families of our school community. Have Blessed Thanksgiving!!