Gratitude Is Taught, Not Caught

With a new school year starting, it will not be long before your child brings home a picture he drew or a spelling test that she took. I urge you to be fully present in the moment when your child wants to share his day or goes out of his way to choose a flower just for you or pick up the trash without being asked. Also be mindful of openly expressing your gratitude to those around you so that you child catches the attitude of gratitude.

I believe that if you take an inventory of those in your life who demonstrate an attitude of gratefulness, you will find without fail that they are also the happiest people you know. What they have or don’t have doesn’t determine their happiness. Each one of them is grateful for every kind word you say and any kindness that you show them. No matter what you do for them, they let you know that they treasure your thoughtfulness.

I want to share with you five things that we know for sure that teach our children gratitude:

  1. None of us is born grateful—we must be taught.
  2. Grateful people have a greater feeling of optimism and overall well-being.
  3. Gratitude is more than simply saying, “Thank you.” It springs from an understanding of value—the value of people and the value of things.
  4. We must live out an attitude of gratitude before our children if we want them to “catch” it.
  5. The opposite of gratitude is entitlement. In an effort to love our children, we often unintentionally create a sense of entitlement in them.

While it may be fun for YOU to indulge your child’s every whim, remember it is our job as adults to give our children the skills they need to be successful and HAPPY. Teaching our children to be grateful and to value those in their lives is very important if we are to equip them for life.

Written By: Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.

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