teaching the art of gratefulness

Having little Jane give auntie Sue a hug for giving her a present is teaching your child good manners on saying thank you.

But having little Jane learn how to be a grateful child is a long learning process that begins with mom and dad’s grateful heart. You must teach gratefulness by showing little Jane that you notice blessings in daily occurrences. You must show her and explain why.

Little children, like little Jane, are natural marvelers. They notice lots more things than adults who often loose their wonder because they are governed by time and more serious things. But Little Jane is noticing because everything is new to her. She is hardwired to learn about everything and why not begin with the dot on the sidewalk, right then.

But little Jane does not understand how to be grateful for the little dot until you tell her why it is so special. If you ignore wonderful things, or blessings, or amazing occurrences she will not know to be grateful for them. They will just be there as an entitlement with no connection.

A simple example at lunchtime: When my mother would make us sandwiches she would always make it from the inside pieces and then purposely chose the end pieces for her sandwich; even though there were other “good” pieces left. We all know the end of the bread are the two pieces no one wants. They are usually thrown out. But my mother grew up in a home with 12 mouths to feed and a very meager income. She and her brother would go to the back doors of the bakery’s pulling a red wagon and receive the day old or two day old bread that was usually fifty percent off. I did not ever have to worry about eating a piece of bread when I was a child. But my mother’s gratefulness for that end piece of bread was taught to me in a sweet way making sandwiches. She told me how she would wait for all of her siblings to chose their piece of bread and then she would chose, and most often it would still be a middle piece. But she would always notice that her mother would  take the end piece no matter if there were still good ones left. I asked her why. She replied, “My mother was always grateful for that bread to feed her little babies. No one wants the end pieces but they will eat the middles so she would take the ends so there will be middles left for everyone when they wanted them.” My mom said, “I want my family to eat the best parts of the bread and I am grateful I have bread to eat.” For some reason I always take the end when I make sandwiches. Just like my mom and grandma I learned the art of gratefulness. 

You are the ones who teach your children to be grateful human beings by noticing and telling them why our daily little tiny and big wonderful blessings are so special to us…

If you ignore your blessings around you so will they, and they will grow up ignoring them too. Gratefulness is not absorbed it is practiced and then taught.

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