How Can I Teach My Child Gratitude?
Posted: December 26, 2017
If you value raising children with a heart filled with gratitude, as I am sure you do, how do you ensure you hit your mark? One answer may be through the utilization of “experiential learning”. What do I mean? Observation has shown that frustration often sets in with parents when their children make an insensitive or selfish comment. Parents think, “If only my child knew how lucky they are!”
Well, for better or worse, all a child knows is their OWN experience. As it is for adults, it is difficult to see tragedy in other parts of the world and bring the grateful experience back into your everyday consciousness. After all, it took Scrooge, a trip back in time and a trip to the future to really appreciate the opportunities he had before him.
And while as parents we don’t want to create painful experiences for our children, I have found the closer we can get to a challenging circumstance the better. Here are some examples:
1. Lecturing children about health may provide good reminders, but providing them the experience of visiting a children’s cancer ward to add cheer to the patients hits the mark and saves you energy. It forces your children to dip deep within to figure out how they will bring joy to kids that have an unfair life altering condition. The task requires using a part of their brain that may not get much use and to consider a circumstance that is not on their daily mind.
2. Reminding children about how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads is important. But a powerful experience is to do what my friend Mike Rozumek has done for years. He goes out and purchases warm blankets and then walks the streets of Boston in the winter to find homeless people, some of whom don’t even have sufficient clothes and provides them with blankets to keep themselves a bit more sheltered from the cold.
3. Telling your children, “You should be grateful for the food you have” is something we have all probably said at one time or another. But participating in an activity like the Personal Best Charity Turkey Brigade is more powerful. If you’re not familiar, volunteers raise money, donate canned goods, package baskets and deliver Thanksgiving meals to families in need. I have found few things more powerful than for children to make deliveries and see someone their own age from surrounding communities receive a basket of food. The learning of gratitude happens magically on both sides of the door. The child or teen sees and understand, maybe for the first time, how fortunate they really are, while the child or teen on the other side of the door is reminded that despite hardship, people around them do care.
It is experiences like these three that are far and away the best types of experiences that can be given to solidify the important lesson of gratitude. If you would like to become involved in Personal Best Charity’s Turkey Brigade please send an email to Founder@personalbestkarate.com and I will happily find a level of participation that will meet your needs.
Whether the above three examples resonate with you or it is something else that is spurred in your thinking, take the time to foster this healthy “attitude of gratitude’ in your children. You will never regret the time spent and your child will take the memories with them for a lifetime.
If you are looking for a self improvement program for your child or know someone who may benefit from a program that is focused on reinforcing these concepts at an age appropriate level, please visit, www.personalbestkarate.com for our popular low cost introductory program. Each offers an easy, no obligation way to see the many ways your child may benefit from the solutions provided to them within our character based programs. For questions or other topics you would like to see addressed in this blog, feel free to send me an email to Founder@personalbestkarate.com
If you would like to have your child try our award-winning character based martial arts program that will reinforce family value and teach mental and physical skills to ensure they are safe, please go to the registration page to sign up today. I promise you that our team of highly-skilled martial arts teachers and mentors will make you and your family feel right at home.