Custom Search

Friday, January 23, 2009


I have to ask any readers out there, when the last time you showed your gratitude towards someone or anyone? Was it today, yesterday, last week or can you remember? Did you think about how appreciative you were to someones action or deed without taking the time to show it towards them? Did you yourself do something kind or do a favor for someone without getting any gratitude back?

Gratitude by definition is "The state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness." No I am not trying to give a vocabulary lesson. At least I hope that most adults reading this would know the definition of the word gratitude. I just wanted to throw that out there as a reminder.

For me, I try and show my gratitude each time someone does something kind and thoughtful to me. I am human and do sometimes forget in my busy world of a full time working Mom to take that time, especially to those that are close to me. My husband for example, has done wonders lately for me without complaint or even without me asking to do some extras around the house while I recuperate. I have said thank you or told him from time to time that what he does means a lot, but in the inside I am honestly bursting with gratitude. Does he realize that? I am not sure. Then it got me thinking (I contemplate a lot) on how do you teach a child gratitude?

As a Mom there are many things you struggle with during each stage of your child's life. Every Mom wants their child to be a well rounded, polite individual that will work hard, love his fellow person and be happy with life. There are just life lessons such as gratitude that I don't believe can be taught. I think its experienced and then realized. Sure you can tell your child to say "please" and "thank you" or when someone does something nice to your child you can tell that little person "how nice of so and so to do that for you." So as any Mom does in this day in age to find and answer to a question, I googled it. I was surprised (because Google does not work for me all the time) about the information I should of thought about on my own and some information that was a good idea.

One site suggested visiting a homeless shelter or something similar because children learn from pity. To me, that was not what I had in mind. Sure being homeless or having another problem in life is sad, but pity? You should be humbled by the fact that you are lucky to have a roof over your head, food in your belly and have a family to go home to. However, homeless people shouldn't looked as being pitied. I wouldn't want to be pitied if I was homeless. I would want a person to stretch out their hand and help pick me up because that little voice in them called them to do so. I don't think volunteers or workers at organizations to help people do things out of pity. I think its something inside them that says "go help these people".

So I continued my search and found some other great ideas to help teach a child what gratitude is in a more positive light. Here is a few key things that I found:

  • Ask your child what he/she is grateful for each day. What blessings they received and perhaps what good deeds they did for someone else. Perhaps as a family share each of your thanks around the family dinner table each night.
  • Find a good thing to say about a bad situation. If your child accidentally spills milk on the floor usually they are quite embarrassed and sorry for it. At least I always was. You can take that time and say, "Its okay, accidents happen. It gives us an excuse to help clean the floor together."
  • When a child receives a special gift from someone, have them send a thank you card. If they are too young perhaps they can color a picture or sign their name on a parent written card.
There are several other different websites that talk about crafts, etc., but basically talking about the same three things. I will also recommend, what you teach your child, you should also model in your own life. What are you grateful or thankful for today? Was this action done by a certain individual? Did you show your gratitude?

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled
by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep
gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
~Albert Schweitzer

No comments: