Monday, November 11, 2013

Thankfulness is Taught and Caught

Kids are born self-seekers. Their survival depends on it. But society encourages acquisition and, while it may be more blessed to give than receive, getting IS fun.

Gratefulness is not innate. Children must be taught the attitude and art of gratitude.

Parents, you are the first and most influential teachers to your children.(Tweet that) How do you teach this valuable attitude? One that'll affect their friendships, family, and future? 

First, slow the greed avalanche these ways:

 * Limit TV viewing…especially during the holidays when advertisers target children as a way to get into parents’ pockets.
 * Decrease trips to toy stores. Make shopping an “adult” activity.
 * Set limits on the number of birthday and holiday “wish list” items.
 * Remind kids their list is suggestion only. It’s not a “mommy – or daddy – do” list.
 * Focus on the intangible wealth. Good friends, laughter, safety, and freedom are indeed welcomed gifts.

Second, live the lifestyle.

As parents we're always teaching . . . sometimes we use words. Saying “thank you” to others or whispering grace before meals shows gratitude. However, the most successful teaching tool is to model it to them. Since kids are copycats, they’ll ACT like YOU.[Tweet that]

As Americans, we have much to be thankful for--it’s a privilege to worship openly and in the way we believe to be right, and to vote for the president we believe is right for our country. Go do these things. 

Also, smile to show appreciation to the restaurant server who hands your youngster a glass of milk. Give generous hugs to your child’s teacher to appreciate her hard work at school.

Write letters of thanks for gifts or kindness received. Woody Allen wrote, “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” Make your behavior teach.

For Thanksgiving: 5 Great Kids’ Books on Kindness & GratitudeRead children’s books about being grateful. Follow up by helping your child pen a short appreciation note to his/her teacher, classmate, or extended family member. Parents, use your influence to rally your child’s sense of appreciation.

As a mom I hope my, 20-something, kids have learned and are practicing gratitude by the way I lived! William Bennett wrote in The Moral Compass, “Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue.” [Tweet that]

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