Gratitude, a feeling growing deep within our hearts, should be nurtured and developed daily.
We often hear of an attitude of gratitude. The saying has a catchy ring to it, but what does it mean? What is gratitude?
Gratitude is more than saying, “Thank you” when someone gives you something. Have you received a “Thank you,” but felt that the words were forced or felt there was no sincerity behind them? Perhaps what was missing was gratitude.
Saying, “Thank you” is good manners, but gratitude comes from the heart and it can’t be forced into existence.
I watched a child tear open her Christmas present and the body language oozed disappointment. She politely said, “Thank you,” but the spontaneous feeling of gratitude was missing. She was thankful for the new outfit, but what she actually wanted was an iPhone.
Gratitude is more than delighting in a gift and it’s more than feeling happy that you got something you wanted.
Happiness … delight …
That good thing may be an act of goodness, kindness, and caring.
Teach your child good manners as well as an appreciate toward the giver of something good.
TIPS FOR TEACHING GRATITUDE
- Start Early-Children are not born with a desire to express thankfulness or gratitude. Very young children can express thankfulness for people, pets, and things. Preschoolers are beginning to understand being grateful for material things as well as acts of kindness and love.
- Live It Daily-Show your children little things you’re thankful and grateful for: sunny days, smiles, pets, bus drivers, broccoli, picking up toys.
- Let Children Help– By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, children realize that all these things take effort. They learn to appreciate the people who give them good things (clean clothes, hugs, ride to their friend’s house)
- Encourage generosity- Share yourselves. Look for opportunities to be generous. With your child: make cupcakes for the mail carrier, donate and deliver dog food to the pet shelter.
- Be Patient-Learning to be grateful takes time. Your efforts will pay off.