Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How to Show Gratitude Part 2

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Mathew  6:21

"Viking Mom, how do you teach gratitude?"

That is a very good question. How do we teach gratitude in a society full of self centered, materialistic, rude, and disrespectful people? 
To be honest, this is something I struggle with as well. My current struggle is showing gratitude, respect and appreciation to people who are  frakkin-shtako boneheads. How does one sore with the eagles in an atmosphere full of turkeys?  

What makes me aware of my own actions are my children. Our children learn directly from us and they imitate what they see from us. Our children are the most powerful mirrors into our souls. Waldorf in the Home discusses this very clearly in their blog here

Showing gratitude can enhance ones life. It can become a habit before you hardly notice it happening. Gratitude can be something small, like a beautiful butterfly or something large like a rainbow. 

There is a saying, "Stop and smell the roses." 
I used to think this meant to stop and slow down. I think it also means we need to stop and show gratitude to that lovely rose.

Now, research has been showing that adults who show gratitude have fewer health problems, more energy, an a greater feeling of well being than those who complain and are bitter and angry. We all know those people who are just exude those negative vibes.   

Children who express gratitude are shown to be kinder, more appreciative, more empathetic, happier and more enthusiastic. Grateful children understand that other people have needs, are different, and tend to look outside themselves. These same children are more polite, usually better behaved and generally are more pleasant to be around.

Steps to teach gratitude:

1. We need to model gratitude ourselves:  We must model gratitude to our children so they can imitate gratitude towards others.  Write a "Thank You" card, say, "Thank You" to someone.

2. Say “No”. It is important for us to be reasonable and say “No”. We also have to be careful rewarding our children for everything. We want them to do good because it is the right thing to do, and not because they get something, like a new toy or money.

3. Give your children responsibility. We are always more grateful for things when we have to do them ourselves. The same applies to children. Give them appropriate responsibilities.

4. Teach your children to be grateful for adversity. When things are hard, or uncertain, or don’t go as planned, we need to teach our children to be grateful. To recognize the blessings that comes from hard things.

5. Point out the simple things. Teach children to be grateful for the creations around them, the seasons, the sunshine, the falling leaves and the rain. Children will quickly understand that there is beauty all around, and that it has come from something much bigger than we are. Celebrate creations. Jump in the leaves, splash in the puddles, and feel the sun on our skin.

Challenge for you: Take a moment of your day and show gratitude. 

Gratitude: feeling or expression of thankfullness

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