If you are a young parent looking to teach your child about the most important things in life or a seasoned vet looking to put your child on the right path, gratitude is always the foundation. Gratitude is the basis for everything that is great in life and should be the first brick you lay to construct your child’s future. It is where all great things are formed and where happiness and success await them. Whether you choose to believe it or not gratitude has a universal energy that can transform lives. Never underestimate the importance of being grateful for the things you have and the things you want to experience.
Speaking and thinking thankful thoughts will be the individual bricks, and without them, you cannot build anything worthwhile. The disclaimer I will use here is just saying thanks for something in your life is only the initial stage of construction. You cannot just lay hundreds of bricks one on top of another hoping they will somehow stay in place. You need some sort of mortar to put over each block to give them strength. Something that can connect each brick together. It’s the genuine feelings of gratitude that will become the adhesion needed to strengthen the foundation you wish to construct. You must seek the feelings generated by the grateful thoughts you hold to give them strength and connectivity. With this foundation in place, your child will have one of the most valuable tools to build their future with their own hands.
It’s feeling gratitude that has the energy you need, not just the act of saying thank you. The thoughts and words only start the engine. I wish I knew more about cars but to be honest, I barely know how to check the oil. If you ever have seen me at a gas station, I would be the guy pumping the gas as my wife’s perfectly manicured hands gripped the dipstick to check the oil. You can start the engine with your words, but until you squeeze the trigger, the car will not move. Even the most expensive cars will sit idle until you give it the fuel it needs to turn its wheels. Give it fuel, and 0-60 is possible. Like an engine, your mind has intricate parts that work together. Without each part working together in synergy and connectivity you will have no movement. Feeling grateful will be the fuel that will move you closer to your final destination, wherever that may be.
If you want great things for your children and want them to be happy and successful than plant the seed of gratitude. I believe instilling the idea of gratefulness is the only place to start. It sounds simple right? Just tell your kids to be thankful for the things they have, and your job is done. If you believe this, then you need to take a step back. You may explain to others that you tell your children all the time to be grateful for the things you give them, but they continue to show no appreciation. If that statement is on your mind when you read these words, I will ask you a question. When was the last time you felt truly thankful for something in your life or told your kids that you were grateful for something they did? Not something big but something small. If you can’t remember the last time you said thank you to your child, then the question of gratitude now starts with you. If you can’t remember the last time you felt gratefulness toward your child, then the question of gratitude now rests on your foundation.
It may be easy for your kids to feel grateful for the big things that come into their lives, like that new bike or making their school team. It is something that they want more than anything so feeling grateful for it is automatic. They feel the feelings of gratitude without even knowing. Their emotions are on auto pilot, and they feel so great about the destination and what they have accomplished or received. As a parent, your job is to find the perfect moments to teach your kids life lessons when they will have the most impact. Moments that show the journey not just the destination. This is the moment you need to grab that first brick and get to work. It is the perfect time to tap into the emotions of gratitude that lay within your child because they are real, and they are strong. Talk about the feelings they have and what they did to reach their goal. It’s up to you as a parent how you want this conversation to develop with your child but don’t miss this opportunity.
Take this moment to show your child that the grateful feelings that are bringing them so much joy and happiness can also be felt in the small things in life. Feeling grateful for a shiny new bike is easy but how about a new pair of plain white socks. They probably wouldn’t even notice a new pair of socks sitting on their dresser because it is expected and doesn’t have the same value. I believe you need to help your child understand the greater value lies in the emotions of gratitude and not just what they received. Never dimish what they have accomplished but use the emotions they feel at that moment to show the physical benefits of being grateful. Being grateful for a pair of socks or a cup of coffee is not easy, believe me I know. It will take time and practice to instill daily actions of gratitude into your families lives but with hard work, dedication and persistence, you will benefit from each brick you lay as a family.
Once you feel confident, you have done all you can do teaching your child to feel grateful for all they receive you also need to talk about the things they already have. No matter your financial standing, where you live or the physical things you possess you can always find something in your life to be grateful for today. If you feel you have nothing, then you may have to look a little harder but make no mistake something does exist. With this understanding and appreciation at the core of their foundation, you can begin to strengthen its deeper connection with the perception of empathic thoughts.