In today’s modern world it is apparent that many morals that people used to hold in high regard are becoming “old ways” of the past. Morality, profanity, pornography, and many more things that used to be regarded as inappropriate are constantly in our children’s lives, popping up in places we would never even expect.
We as parents can take heart that there is always one moral issue we can instill in our children that will help them to have happiness and positivity in life, which is an attitude of gratitude.
A wise person once said, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” As a lasting and important principle that will greatly benefit throughout all walks of life, what can we do to help them truly develop a sense of gratitude?
Please and Thank You, But That’s Just the Start
Millennials are pegged with a sense of entitlement. Let’s do our best to stop that mentality by showing our children they need to show appreciation for the things people do for them. A simple please and thank you is extremely important, but just the tip of the iceberg.
How can we show children to express their gratitude with more than words? Take Action!
Take them a homeless shelter so they can help distribute clothing or serve meals. Find an elderly person in the neighborhood and visit regularly. Clean their gutters, rake their leaves or do things for them like take out their trash or bathe their dog. Find a friend at school who needs a pick me up, write than a secret note or leave a secret gift.
These small acts of service instill in our children a love of others. It helps them to recognize empathy, and how to truly feel what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes.
Children that can look past their own struggles or world are much more capable of feeling grateful for their blessings.
Teach Them to Take Time Every Day to Express Gratitude For Blessings
Whether children begin to write in a gratitude journal, write a letter to their future selves, share heartfelt moments about their days to a parent, or even offer a prayer to a higher power, this is a powerful tool for young people. When children arrive home from school, before meals, and at bedtime, take care to teach your child that these quiet moments of reflection are wonderful for contemplating the good things in their life. Regaining this positive outlook can do a lot to help them learn to think happy, good, and grateful thoughts in life.
Ask children, what is one thing today that made you laugh? Who made you feel good about yourself today, and how? Who did something for you today you could not do yourself? These prompts can get them really thinking about the blessings in their life.
Give Children An Opportunity to Give of Their Time and Talents
When I was a child we had a neighbor who experienced a tragic home fire a few days after Christmas. I will never forget as a five-year-old child, my mother asking me to pick two of my favorite gifts from Christmas that I would like to give to the little girl in that family. I chose a stuffed teddy bear and wooden puzzle.
That memory of rewrapping those gifts that I had so loved and preparing to give them away is a feeling that has shaped my decisions through a lot of circumstances in life. I learned at a young age to put others before myself. To be grateful for the chances to bless the lives of others.
As adults, we understand that every day there are small and large ways we can benefit others. Look for those opportunities for your child as well. Help them learn through your example.
This Thanksgiving season may we all try a little harder to be more grateful. As we do, that joy and peace will pass along to those in our lives we love and cherish.