In my last post I talked about gratitude.
What exactly is gratitude? What are the benefits? How do we teach & nurture it?
As a parent, it’s my job to help my children interpret the world with gratitude. However, teaching gratitude is not as easy as training a child to say “thank you.” A child may say “thank you” often and still lack gratitude.
More than just being trained to say “thanks,” a person with gratitude recognizes a good gift when it comes and acknowledges the generosity and kindness of the giver.
Gratitude is an attitude of the heart, a discipline of the Lord, and a mark of good character.
Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement, necessary to contentment, and a precursor to generosity.
Plus, who doesn’t want a gracious, thankful, and content child? I know I do. So I spent a week trying to discuss & direct my kids’ focus in regards to gratitude. Here’s how it went.
I asked my kids “What is gratitude?”
Neither one knew
An hour later I asked again, What’s gratitude?
“Being thankful, nice, and kind.”
The 11 year old said,
” saying, ‘It was very nice of you to do it.'”
The baby stayed silent.
“Right, it’s being thankful and noticing the work that the person did to give.”
I asked them, what are 3 things you are grateful for?
The 11 year old said, “Friends, food, and water from God.”
The 7 year old said, “Getting food, tooting.”
(Did I mention he’s a boy? Like a little real life ragamuffin Dennis the Menace? To his credit, I guess we are better off “tooting” than not.)
My husband piped up, “Forgiveness, not being in control, my wife.”
Husband for the win.
I followed up with more discussion. After all, talking to kids about gratitude isn’t a one time thing. I wanted them to understand,
Having gratitude isn’t just being thankful for,
it’s being thankful
So we went back over our discussion focusing on who we are grateful to.
Yes, mom and dad and everyone who gives, but always and ultimately God, because without God, no who gives would have anything to give. So we can have gratitude towards mom for a great dinner and to God for providing it.
We also discussed what it looks like to not have gratitude.
“Mad, sad, rude, unkind”
I think they have the beginning of understanding. More work is ahead.
What are 3 things you are thankful for and to whom do you owe your gratitude?