As a mother, during the first ten years of parenthood, I myself was looking for ways and means to guide my child to a life of gratitude. It’s not exactly easy, but fairy tales and stories have always helped me with this. “Hannah’s Christmas Wish” picture book is a wonderful story that appeals to children to become grateful for the things they already have: loving parents, health, a roof over their heads, and a full stomach, friends and relatives too — because not all children have this.
As a mother of the first ten years of parenthood, I myself was looking for ways and means to guide my child to gratitude. It’s not exactly easy. Fairy tales and stories have always helped me with this. So my parenting was marked by badgers (I know more about that a second time), Big careless boots (also about that a second time) and “Hannah’s Christmas Wish”.
“Hannah’s Christmas Wish” picture book is a really wonderful story that appeals to children to become grateful for the things they already have: loving parents, health, a roof over their heads and a full stomach, friends and relatives… because not all children have this.
Why is it important to shape children’s attitudes toward gratitude? Why is teaching them to constantly express gratitude for the things we have important? And is reminding them that they are happier than many of their peers in the neighborhood or on the other side of the world really that essential?
All parents want their children to grow into smart and successful adults. But believe it or not, these are two of the biggest things that make us fail to see our extraordinary children as they are. The fact is, however, that we actually want them to grow into compassionate, grateful people, and with a strong moral compass that will encourage them to give back to society. Only then can we really be proud of ourselves, knowing that we have succeeded as parents.
Do you agree that if we are grateful, then we will also like to do something good and beautiful for others? And if we experience acts of kindness ourselves, doesn’t that make us want to do the same for others in the future? When we teach our children kindness and gratitude, it really is for the better good for generations to come, because gratitude and kindness are mutual emotions that spread like a virus among people!
But how can we teach children gratitude?
Gratitude does not come by itself, it is not part of our nature, and many times we adults have to learn it too. We choose it. But it requires strong will, discipline, and true intention. But how can we teach children gratitude?
The simplest answer is that we can teach them this essential way of life through our own example, and then they will continue to learn this through their own life experiences on their own.
At home, when a child is healthy and nothing hurts, (s)he quickly forgets to be grateful for his health and well-being. But when something hurts, (s)he quickly remembers how great it is to be healthy and that everything is ok. Is that the case with you too?
One thing I find true is that by developing gratitude, children also develop the ability to see beyond themselves and their own needs and worries, since they realize that we are all interconnected and dependent on each other. By learning gratitude, we will give them knowledge that can change their lives.
But it starts with us.
I gave my son many experiences – through different activities -to learn about the value of life. Once, when my son was older, I gave him the task of paying for lunch and dinner for us for a week. You wouldn’t imagine how quickly he became detail-oriented in every little aspect of this task. He arranged everything, and he became aware of all the different details that have to come together to simply feed a small family of two.
Very quickly, however, he figured out how many meals he would have with his small amount of money, and I watched as all these things passed through his mind — how his value on something that is easily taken for granted changed, and I could see the gratitude kicking in with every minute that went by.
I want to make it clear that I didn’t give him this task out of anger or spite or hardness. I set him this task so that he may see the true value of something as simple as putting food on the table — a true luxury that many in this world do not get the chance to enjoy.
Another fun story is that when he was smaller, he raised money for a ball that he really wanted by reading. Whenever he had to strive for something with good motivation, he was most happy in the end. In between, of course, it was always full of long noses dragging all over the apartment. I just didn’t pay much attention to them, as I tried not to feed the little white lies he told me (as all children do).
I believe that we can teach a child a lot about gratitude through experience, even if it hurts a little.
And I must not forget to mention this. When we were doing all the campaigns for the “Hannah’s Christmas Wish” picture book, he came once and said to me: “Grandpa is just like Hanhah. That’s not good. “
In case you haven’t read it, click here to find out just what my son meant!