Friday, November 6, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

It always amazes me that the moment Halloween is over, the Christmas and other December holiday decorations instantly make their way to the store shelves. The Thanksgiving holiday always seems to get smashed in with the other winter holidays (whichever you choose to celebrate). The autumn decorations make way for snowflakes and jolly elves.

This focus on the gift centered holidays as opposed to the gratitude focused holiday seems to send a message to children that they are entitled to gifts without an expression of gratitude for the gifts received. How can we cultivate an attitude of gratitude in our children when we send the opposite message?

Don’t skip Thanksgiving! Of course, we never actually skip Thanksgiving; we cook the traditional meal: a turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes slathered in butter and gravy, jello salads, rolls, pies… But do we take the time to remember to express our gratitude for what we have received? Or do we quickly rush off to the store to begin our Christmas shopping? Do we thank our parents for their love at support? Do we thank the children for working hard at their chores? Or do we plan our Christmas Tree finding excursion? Taking time during the Thanksgiving season to express our gratitude to others is a great way to help our children remember to express their thanks.

During this time of economic hardship it can be hard to feel gratitude. I love a quote that I recently found from William Arthur Ward, he says,”Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” The expression of gratitude can help us get through these difficult times, especially our children. Children have an amazing ability to adjust to a new set of circumstances. Gratitude for what they do have can help take the focus off of what they do not.

As parents, we set the example. It does not matter how many times we tell our children to thank others, if they do not see us expressing gratitude they will learn that it is not important. But if we do remember to thank others they will likewise learn to express thanks. Thank the cashier at Wal Mart for their help. Thank your child’s coach for their hard work and dedication. Thank a teacher for spending extra time with your child. Your child will learn to follow your example. And I always feel better when I have remembered to thank someone; it puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will not happen overnight, but as you set the example and encourage the expression of thanks, slowly you will see it grow and develop not only in your children, but in yourself as well.


- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

Featured weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine

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