Modeling gratitude
October 24, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

Children learn from what we say and more so from what we do. Teaching gratitude is also something that needs to be modeled for our children through our words and actions.

When we constantly complain about how bad things are, or we always complain about others, what do our children learn and hear?

They hear that the world is a hard-knock world, and that their lives are apt to be filled with more bad things than good. When we continuously look at the negative, it is hard to truly be happy and content.

However, if we are positive in our thoughts, words, and actions, and if we use such words as “thank you,” we are telling and showing our children that we appreciate what we have and those around us.

If we are appreciative, we feel good. When we feel good, we are more apt to flourish and live enriched lives.

Isn’t it better to feel more good than bad? Don’t we want our children to live happy, fulfilled lives?

Of course we do. As a parent, the thing I want most for my children is for them to be happy, to live life with a positive outlook. How we view things is something over which we have great control. We control our attitudes. We need to model this for our children.

Now, does that mean that tough situations won’t come our way, or that we want our children to settle for less than they are capable of?

Of course not. We want our children to set goals and work hard to attain them. We want them to reach their potential. We want our children to enjoy and find happiness throughout their journey of growth.

Hardships may, and will, happen. But, how we deal with those hardships has a profound effect on how we live our lives. We can teach our children that we can grow because of the challenging times.

There will also be times that we wear our “crabby” robes – that we have moments when we are frustrated or disappointed. But, we, as adults, need to teach our children that, of course, we have those feelings, and we need to deal with them and then keep moving forward. We need to deal with those feelings in healthy ways.

Heightening our own sense of gratitude will have a positive effect on how we live our lives, which then is passed on to our children.

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