As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, please take a minute to reflect on the blessings that come from an attitude of gratitude.
Scientists have studied gratitude and determined that it provides the following benefits:
- Improved physical and psychological health
- Increased mental strength
- Increased empathy for others
- Stronger relationships
We all want our children to be healthy, concerned for others, and involved in positive relationships. Complaining seems to come naturally and brings no positive results. So how can we help our children leave the complaining behind and gain an attitude of gratitude?
The first key to develop an attitude of gratitude is to NOTICE our blessings. Model this daily for your children. Look for the gifts behind the material things- someone thinking about you, someone showing care or concern, someone taking the time to help. God has richly blessed each of us, and the more we look for those blessings, the more we will see them.
The second key is to THINK about why we have been given gifts and blessings. When we take time to think, we can see that we are blessed not because of what we have earned or because of what we have done. We are blessed because we are loved- by God, by family, and by others. What a great reason to be grateful.
The third key is notice how we FEEL about the things we have been given. Gifts make us happy and bring us joy. What are the small moments in life that give us joy? Share them with your child and then help your child to recognize when they find joy. Show them the connection between feelings of joy and gratitude.
Finally, what can we DO in response to all we have been given? Motivate your child to respond to a kind word or gesture with a kind word or action of their own. Share your positive feelings with others. Say thank you. Use good manners. Be polite. And give to others.
It takes prompting and practice to develop an attitude of gratitude. Start today and model for your child what it means to follow the Bible’s teaching to give thanks in all things. You’ll be amazed at the blessings you’ll find!