Teaching your children the importance of gratitude

Children are perceptive and learn by example. Our demonstration of gratitude can help them find greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Learning gratitude will come with education, experience and humility.

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  • A person’s maturity can easily be measured by their level of gratitude. Gratitude in the home cultivates other positive feelings such as happiness, forgiveness and patience. Teaching your children to be grateful when there is so much abundance can be a challenge. Children are perceptive and our example of gratitude can help them find greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Learning gratitude will come with education, experience and humility. Here are a few things that you can try within your family to encourage and teach gratitude.

  • Write a kind note

  • If you have ever received a personal hand-written note, expressing gratitude for something that you have said or done for someone else, you understand the positive effect that this small act has on your relationship with that individual. Taking the time to acknowledge others for their kindness, generosity or example helps strengthen relationships. An occasional, meaningful note to a member of your family, expressing sincere gratitude for something that you have observed in their life, can encourage a feeling of unity and love at home. Start showing your gratitude by recognizing the goodness in members of your own family. Write a loved one a kind note today expressing your appreciation for something that you have noticed.

  • Keep a gratitude journal

  • Over prolonged periods of experiencing abundance, it becomes easy to get used to the way things are. It is easy to forget the blessings we have unless you write them down. A wise man once taught me that the faintest ink is greater than the fondest memory. Make a habit of writing down the things that you are grateful for. As your gratitude list grows, so will your optimism. The ability to recognize things for which you are grateful will help you and your family be better prepared to handle the challenges in life. Take time each day to discuss the things that you are grateful for.

  • Reach out to others in service

  • Sometimes, experience is the best teacher. One of the first times I really experienced genuine gratitude was after meeting grateful people living in poverty. I saw families living in shacks that they had built up on a mountain side; I saw smiles on the faces of children who had nothing. Sometimes it’s easy to take what we have for granted.

  • As you regularly acknowledge the small things in life that you are grateful for, consider reaching out to others who are not so fortunate. There are chances to serve others everywhere. Acts of service do not have to be extravagant or even planned. Often times a sincere smile and a friendly acknowledgment can brighten someone’s day. As your children see you take time to uplift others, they will follow your example.

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  • Remember to write kind notes to your family member and others who have helped you throughout your life. Keep a gratitude journal, you do not have to write every day, but the more you do the more you will notice the little things that bring joy to life. As you reach out to others in service you will be charting a positive course for your children to follow.

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Dustin A. Wiggins, author of 180 Experiences that will Strengthen your Marriage, is passionate about discovering ways to strengthen the family. He loves to write and explore different parts of the world. You can follow him on twitter @_DustinWiggins or check out his blog Lessons of Wisdom to stay updated with helpful and inspiring ideas.

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