How do you raise children to be grateful? Is it a learned behavior? Can children even grasp the concept?
I have had the same New Year's resolution for the past three years-to write more letters. As with most resolutions this did not happen...until this year. I decided that I would start sending letters to the people who have impacted my life and thank them. Have you ever really thought back on all the people who have helped you get to where you are? It is a very humbling activity because you realize that you could not have gotten where you are without the help of friends and family. I have only checked a handful of people off my list, but I am still working on it. I hope that it will be a practice that I keep for the rest of my life.
As I have worked on my letters, the larger concept of gratitude began to intrigue me. Mainly, I wonder if true gratitude is something that you can't begin to appreciate until you are old enough to understand the world outside of you. Children (and let's be honest- some adults) only see how things affect them and everything is in direct proportion to themselves. This is a basic physiologic development. I think back and although I was appreciative of things while growing up, I didn't really have a deep down sense of gratitude. Maybe it boils down to whether or not someone feels entitled. I am not sure.
So, I digress back to the original question...is it possible to instill your child with a sense of gratitude or does it naturally develops over time? It is such an important value to me and I want to be able to raise Nonie to understand that life will bless you and life will challenge you. Either way, the lessons you learn have to be appreciated. More and more I have begun to feel that in order to be happy you have to recognize the small part you place in the grand scheme. But, like the smallest cog in a wristwatch, it won't run without your contribution.