Can we have an Attitude of Gratitude? One thing that I really like to do with the girls at bedtime is talk about what we are thankful for with the day. Honestly, many times I am just thankful it is finally bedtime! But it is part of our prayers.…..it can be as simple as “thank you for the sunshine, thank you that we could go swimming today.“ Sometimes we go deeper in our gratitude. I want the girls to know that being grateful, being thankful is an important part of who we are. I want them to learn to truly be thankful.
It is not just the big things – when we have had major breakthrough – but also the small things, the daily things. It’s the food we eat, the toys we have, our clothes, friends, family. It’s all of that.
It is so easy to flip it around so that we are not feeling thankful or grateful for what we have. I can easily do that and I am trying not to. I know that I do so much better emotionally when I am living a life of gratitude.
Can we be thankful for what we have? I have traveled to many countries and seen firsthand how many children around the world live, especially in third world countries. It is amazing how many of them are so grateful for the things they have – like a spare t-shirt – and here are my two sometimes complaining because they are bored and don’t have the right toys. Grrr. That leads to some big discussions, and me trying not to say all the cliches.
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. Did you know that there are actual studies done on the effects of gratitude and thankfulness in your life? Here are some key benefits of living in an attitude of gratitude:
- Eat healthier
- Develop stronger immune systems
- Experience more energy
- Demonstrate optimism and mental acuity
- Cope with stress better
- Describe life with high satisfaction
- Exercise regularly
- Solve difficult mental challenges easier
- Have deeper friendships
- Sleep better
- Have increased self-worth and self-esteem
- Show increased productivity
- Enjoy work and perform better on the job
Do you see some that might be good?? 😉
HOW DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO SEE US?
I have two very opinionated almost 6 year olds. But they are also aware of what is going on around them. One, in particular, is a feeler (like me). She picks up on the emotions around her and it can affect how she feels. When I am stressed she will react. When she is stressed or throwing an attitude, I have to remain calm or we can trigger each other and set things to volcanic stage.
I thought I would ask them how they feel when I am happy, thankful, etc. They were able to articulate how they feel, and it was very clear to me that my attitude can affect them and the feel of our household.
When Mummy is happy……
- I feel really excited
- I want to play
When Mummy is thankful……
- I feel really, really happy
- I feel things are good
What happens when Mummy is not thankful and happy?
- I feel sad. When Mummy is sad I am sad.
- I just feel sad.
They know which Mummy they would prefer – happy over stressed, thankful over cranky. It helps me to stay on track for my own life, as I know I do so much better (like the list above) when I am living a life of thankfulness and gratitude.
Writing a gratitude list can be a great way to kick start daily gratitude. The great thing about these lists is that they don’t need to be deep and intense. Just the simple things to get you thinking.
Taking time to write it is a gift to yourself. Add to it, remove things. Do what you need to do. Here are some ideas to get yours rolling:
- Warm beds and pillows
- Swimming pools
- A good book
- Time to yourself
- Hot showers
- Sleeping in
- Food on the table
I asked the girls for their Thankful List. Here is what two silly 5-year-olds came up with:
- Going to the pool
- Baby dolls
- Scrack and snacks
- Squidgy Bums
- Mummy and Papa
- All the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
RAISING GRATEFUL KIDS IN AN ENTITLED WORLD
Yikes, to be honest this is tough! There is a grand sense of entitlement floating around, and I know that it is something we talk to our girls often about. Rights vs Privilege. Entitled To vs Blessed With. Wants vs Needs. I know that I want to raise grateful kids, ones who see the good in front of them and are not going to whine the “it’s not fair” because they don’t get something they want. Maybe one way to start is to help our children understand feelings. This is a vlog I did on teaching feelings.
LET’S GET THANKFUL
I love the focus of November to be thankful as the US gears up for Thanksgiving. But I don’t want it to just be a 30 day thing – let’s get thankful and make it a 365 day thing!