Teach Gratitude

Source: blogs.uuworld.org

How grateful are your children? Do you actively teach them to appreciate the things they have in their lives? With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, gratitude is the name of the game. Of course, gratitude is important every day of the year, not just this one day. And gratitude is an important quality in everyone, kids and adults alike.

Many of my friends on Facebook are expressing gratitude the entire month of November. It’s an interesting exercise to decide what I’m most thankful for every day of the month. Admittedly, I’ve had days where I can’t come up with anything. But I’ve also had days where I list two or three things that I’m grateful for. It really changes my attitude. It forces me to see all that I truly do have and appreciate every bit of it. Sadly, I’m very much a glass-half-empty kind of person, so this exercise really changes my thinking.

When it comes to our kids, training them to be grateful is all about teaching them to think of all that they have. They don’t have the perspective to understand that they have much more than many other kids in this world. But gratitude doesn’t require us to compare. We can simply be grateful for what we have because we have it, not because somebody else doesn’t have it.

So take the time to walk through your house and marvel at all that you have. Do this with your child. Examine every little toy, piece of furniture, and item of clothing. Find your child’s favorite toy, and say, “Aren’t we so lucky to have great things to play with?” Find your softest blanket, and say, “Isn’t this blanket so soft and warm?” After your spouse has read a book to the kids, stop and say, “Aren’t you so lucky to have a daddy who is so good at reading stories?”

Now, don’t turn it into a blame game. Don’t force gratitude on them by saying there are starving children in China. This has no meaning to them. Their gratitude will be wrapped up in whatever it is that they are thankful for.

Make this a daily exercise and your children will begin to act and think with gratitude.

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