Being grateful is not something we are born with. It’s not a behavior that is an instinct. If anything, it’s the exact opposite. We often feel we are entitled and free to take. We live in a take, take, more is better society too which makes it even more challenging to exude gratefulness.
My eyes have been opened to this more than ever as I raise my children. Trying to teach them to be grateful for even the simple things of having two pairs of shoes, running water and food on the table. Being grateful is a quality that is learned. It must be practiced over and over and it’s up to us parents to instill this into our children.
I’m so guilty of giving too much without requiring a thankful heart. It makes me happy to buy and give to my children. I love seeing their eyes light up in excitement and I love making them happy. I’ve grown to learn that giving them too much though will cause unhappiness as they constantly seek for more without being grateful for the things they already hold.
- We give thanks before each meal. We pray before we eat. We thank God for our food and list out other things that we are thankful for.
- We write thank you cards. We send notes of appreciation to our friends and loved ones. We also make special cards just because to show our loved ones we are grateful for them.
- We pray daily and list out what we are thankful for.
- We give to others. Every few months or so, we pick items to give to the needy. This could be toys, clothes or games. It’s important for my children to be involved in this process because I want her to be the one that freely gives to others.
- We talk about gratitude daily. Weaving thankfulness into our daily conversations helps us keep a grateful heart.
- Don’t be afraid to say No. For me, I want to shower my children with gifts. I think that’s a natural feeling for all parents to feel, but saying no will help give my children much more than any gift I could buy for them.
I also want to teach my children what really holds value in this life, is not “things” but the love we feel in our heart for our Savior and others. It’s not about receiving.
As my eyes have been opened to the work I need to do for my children, I have also seen work I need to do in myself. I love how God gives us these ah-ha moments and we feel a new connection with Him. While guiding my kids in the right way, I see ways I too can improve. We are very privileged to live where we do with the opportunities we have. Just the simple act of typing this post out on the computer and being able to freely speak about my views, my children, my religion is something I should have gratitude for. I started to take inventory on the things I was taking for granted and the list was astonishing. If we listed out every day even the simplest of things like clean clothes our hearts will begin to radiate gratitude in a new way.
What are some things you are grateful for? Do you ever forget to thank Him for the simplest things the way that I did? We would love to hear from you and encourage our readers.