Living the ‘Attitude of Gratitude’

I attended our district school board’s annual Parent Conference over the weekend and it was an experience that has left me completely moved and inspired.
I was originally hesitant to attend the event and was mainly going to represent our school’s council. I was not even too sure what to expect from the event as no other parents on the council had ever attended. All I knew was that later in the afternoon I would be attending a workshop on parenting anxious children (which I was looking forward to as my eldest son has dealt with anxiety over the last two years).
The event started off with such an inspirational mass led by Bishop Crosby. It was definitely an experience to remember. His homily focused on ‘the attitude of gratitude’, something that I know so many of us take for granted (myself included!). He asked us to teach our children to be thankful and to say the words ‘thank you’. And it made me laugh at the time but he told us to teach our children to say thank you and not because we are telling them to say it but because they want to say it. This is so right – too many times children say thank you because we teach them that is the right thing to do but we do not teach them why it is the right thing to do. That we should be grateful that our parents send us to after school programs, we have our favourite snacks in the fridge,etc..These are not all rights but little gifts we give to each other.
He also spoke about that when we switch and lead a life filled with gratitude we can not be unhappy and miserable in our life. If we are grateful for every aspect and item in our life than we can really see how lucky and blessed we have become and there is no need to be unhappy. Sometimes we become so engrossed in our life and personal wants that we do not see all the beautiful small things that are in it. There is too much to be grateful for in life. For myself, I have two wonderful and healthy children (it did take seven years for us to be blessed with our second child but we were finally blessed with one), a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and so much more.
His homily moved me and made me realize that I do not spend enough time saying I love you to my family, sitting down and appreciating every moment of joy and that sometimes I do not say thank you enough. I have tried to make it a point to say thank you to my family members and for the past couple of nights at bed time I have been speaking to my children about good things that have happened in our day (and one bad thing) and what we are grateful for that day. I’ve always made it a point to tell the ones I love that I do love them. I want my children to see and appreciate all the little things in life and not to take for granted that they have been blessed with so much and that tomorrow is never promised. Are there other ways to help children learn this lesson?  How do you teach your children to be grateful?


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