When we received the annual thank you notes from some of our grandkids this past Christmas we noticed, while still short and to the point, they were more thoughtful than the usual “thanks for _________. I love it.”
We later learned they had written their notes following a family discussion on gratitude.
What a wonderful idea for a family discussion.
What an extremely important discussion, for all of us, in this era of entitlement.
With a little self-awareness we can teach gratitude by example.
Example is the most powerful form of teaching. It keeps anyone from claiming they can't hear what we are saying because what we are doing is overpowering what we are saying.
When I was a young teenager I made a notice for my bedroom. I'm not sure where I originally read it but I know it spoke to me and. . .
it hung there until I moved away.
From Entitlement to Thankful: Raising Children with an Attitude of Gratitude is an recent article by Dr. David Sack in the Parents section of the Huffington Post.
Dr. Sack further states "Sometimes in our efforts to instill gratitude, we use approaches that look similar to gratitude but have unintended negative effects" which include Threats, Comparisons, Indebtedness, Flattery,
and Manipulation. It is amazing ( and disconcerting and frightening) to discover what we often unintentionally do or say and the messages we are sending.
He follows with the recipe for Authentic Gratitude with ingredients including: Share the Gift of Giving, Teach Family Values, Start a Family Tradition, Assign Age-Appropriate Tasks, Serve Others, and Practice Mindfulness.
I highly suggest putting his article on your must read list. His recommendations are simple things that can/will make a world of difference.
A few weeks ago I ran across another message that spoke to me. It is posted on the mirrors in our bathrooms as a constant reminder.