We are all Teachers of Gratitude passed on to our children and our grandchildren. When gratitude becomes a daily lesson, it teaches children to “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” – Maya Angelo
Talking about our blessings allows children to be more resilient, always looking for the positive with a thankful heart. Their outlook on school, family, and life is better; instilling a sense of self-worth, optimism, and empathy for others as gratitude begins to flow from their hearts naturally.
Gratitude fosters a strong positive relationship when you know that person appreciates you and your contributions and the efforts that come from watching you lift others up. I also believe, by telling children how special they are, it shows them that gratitude showers them with love extending well past the material aspects of life.
When children get used to having stuff and more stuff without knowing where it came from, gratitude teaches them that stuff did not fall out of the sky. They start to develop a healthy attitude of recognizing that the things they own and the opportunities they have, actually come from someone else. This in turn makes them mindful of others and therefore allows them to concentrate on what they have instead of what they don’t have.
I Love…Love the idea of pitching in for something children may want. If their bike breaks, teach them how to fix it. If they break the screen on their cell phone and look to their parents for a quick fix, maybe a better idea is to have them spend the day outside doing yard work to pay for what they did. With each lesson comes a more realistic perspective of what you and others do for them and the price of their mistakes.
We are also examples of gratitude …. thanking the waiter or waitress, the teller at the bank, the usher at church, the various cashiers, or the neighbor that just shows up when you are in need. When we continually express words of thanks, our children or grandchildren are listening and passing it on to others.
Means of expressing gratitude may include thank you notes, email, texting, or phone calls. My favorite is when I receive thank you notes and embrace the warmth of each hand-written word. The ones I cherish recently are written by my grandsons and are hanging on my walls or in a box filled with their special unique loving words.
A teachable moment for me was when I took my grandsons on an Artist Tour. Rule number one was no cell phones allowed and rule number two, you had to say thank you to each one of the artists they encountered who amazed them with their talents … glassblowing, metal sculpting, wood turning, pottery, painting, photography, etc. My grandsons were thrilled to leave with little tokens of their cultural experience. At the end of the day, they thanked me profusely for a day to remember and could not wait to get home to share this teachable moment with their Mom and Dad.
Spirituality and Gratitude are one in the same when we acknowledge the many blessings that enrich our lives! Our relationship with our Holy Father is built on gratitude which serves as a teaching tool for our children. It spreads grace, keeping despair out of their hearts. The result is we get to see this most precious gift of gratitude in our children as adults, becoming the example for them to teach their children and grandchildren.