Attitude of Gratitude
One of the most important gifts you can give a child
Picture this, it’s your little ones’ birthday and you’ve spent many an hour creating the perfect cake, sending invites & gathering family & friends to celebrate. It comes to gift opening time; your child enthusiastically unwraps one gift then immediately throws it aside and unwraps the next. A sense of embarrassment/horror slowly creeps in as not a single word of gratitude or thanks is uttered.
Of course, that’s just kids caught up in the moment, but somewhere deep inside that little voice questions ‘where have I gone wrong?’
Encouraging a genuine attitude of gratitude in kids can certainly be challenging. However, research by Robert Emmons of the Greater Good Science Center – Berkeley University of California, found that people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier than those who don’t, they’re more joyful, enthusiastic, interested & determined.
This shows that the time & effort put into teaching kids’ gratitude is highly beneficial, impacting their life well into the future. Gratitude is certainly a lot more than a simple social nicety.
So where do you start?
For kids one great way to start nurturing a genuine attitude of gratitude is to spend some time creating thank-you letters. These are not any old thank-you letter mind you, they need to be meaningful, and to achieve this it’s all about discovering their ‘Why’.
Uncover your child’s ‘Why’
You may be asking yourself what do you mean by ‘Their Why’ & why is that important?
Their ‘Why’, is about focussing on why they truly appreciate the gift beyond its fun factor & monetary value. It helps kids learn to place a new value on items, introducing them to the concept of personal value. Personal value being the true worth of an item, action or experience to an individual beyond just its monetary value. Uncovering their why can be as simple as asking a question
- What makes this gift special to you?
- Does it remind you of something?
- Can it help you do or learn something?
- How does it make you feel?
Teaching kids to communicate from their why also helps them discover & link their motivation & purpose to actions. This is an extremely useful skill to have later in life when they encounter tough times, helping them associate context & reason to the things they do, which in turn can form the basis of self-motivation that gets them through those tough times.
So, the simple act of gratitude can help kids develop the concepts of
- personal value
- Identify motivation & purpose
These are not the only long-term benefits that a genuine attitude of gratitude can have in life.
You may have heard about a TED talk by a gentleman called Simon Sinek (The Golden Circle) – where he talks about some of the traits that great leaders & organisations have. One of these traits is the ability to communicate from their why, this ability has been proven to inspire others & create action.
Imagine if kids communicated from their why naturally. How much easier would life be, think how much more fulfilment, abundance and success they could experience?
The simple act of gratitude provides the foundations to overcome challenges, the trait to become great leaders, discover personal value, motivations & purpose and not to forgotten be considerably happier overall. Who’d have ever thought that one simple act (repeated often) could have such a significant effect on your child’s life & development?
Would you be surprised if I told you that an attitude of gratitude also has another very important influence in our lives? That helps counteract something that has existed for thousands of years?
Let me explain.
Gratitude and the Negativity Bias
The human brain is wired to put greater emphasis on the not so good things in life. This tendency evolved from our ‘cave-person’ days where danger lurked behind nearly every corner. In order to survive our ancestors developed a higher sensitivity/awareness to danger.
In now days this means we are better at recalling unpleasant thoughts, emotions & traumatic events than we are the good ones. In fact, the ratio of 5 to 1 is often quoted, that is – in order to balance our negativity bias we need to recognise five good things for every bad. How do we do that? With a GENUINE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. By shifting our negativity bias, we can experience greater feeling of fulfilment, happiness, & wellbeing and become just a lot nicer person to be around overall.
For a parent developing a genuine attitude of gratitude in your kids most certainly can be challenging, but clearly it is one of the best investments you can make & one of the most important gifts you can give your child – laying the foundation for happiness, wellbeing, abundance & success.
You can follow us on