Daily Archives: July 8, 2011

Teaching Gratitude

I’m trying something new today. I decided to participate in 5 Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama. No editing or self-critique. Just write for five minutes and publish. It is taking great self-restraint not to read over this and edit before I hit PUBLISH, but I’m going to do it anyway. Cringe!  Today’s writing prompt was: GRATITUDE

It sounds innocent enough, but underneath the words I hear something more dangerous than just an off-handed complaint, I sense a more menacing threat.

“I didn’t want to eat here.”

“This is boring.”

“I’m too tired to clean my room.”

Taken as isolated comments, these sound like harmless ways my children express themselves. But string them together over the course of a day and throw in a little attitude, and I become aware that my children need to learn to live lives of gratitude.

We have so much. Sure there are those who have more, but we have much more than we need to exist. I want to provide opportunities and fun experiences for my children, but I also want to see those things as privileges, not rights.

The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required.

So how does a mom teach an attitude of gratitude?

As I brainstorm this morning, I record these ideas:

1. We need to spend more time serving people who have less.

I need to let them take more active roles in communicating with our sponsored Compassion child. I should teach them about Ethiopia and what everyday life must be like for Tekalign.

I should look for ways we can serve those in need right here in our community. My children need to know that it isn’t just people who live in third world countries who need our help; many in our own city go to sleep hungry and without the basic provisions we take for granted.

2. I need to express my own gratitude more freely. They need to hear me thank more and complain less. I feel like I am a grateful person but I wonder how often they hear my appreciation.

They also need to serve others. They need to know what it looks like to put others before themselves. I need to become more faithful in writing thank you notes to people who have shown me kindness. Thank you notes have become a lost art and I’m so guilty of letting my verbal thanks serve as my only expression of gratitude.

How do you teach your children to be grateful?



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