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Parents know what they have to teach children. They teach them manners, and how to use the potty. They teach them how to eat at the table, how to get dressed in the morning, and eventually, how to tie their own shoes. Sadly, one of the forgotten teachings of parenthood is teaching children how to be grateful. When is the last time you taught your child to be grateful. As a parent, it is immensely important for children, even very young ones – to realize that a grateful heart can lead to great things in life.
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our children. It is learned. So, as parents, “Teaching our Children Gratitude” should be at the top of our parental-to-do-list.
Happiness is a skill that parents can teach their children and the relationship between gratitude and happiness is really strong.People who spend more time doing things that express their gratitude tend to be considerably happier than people who don’t.Children who express gratitude are kinder, more appreciative, more empathetic, happier and more enthusiastic. Grateful children understand that other people have needs and they look outside themselves. They are more polite, usually better behaved and generally more pleasant to be around.
LIVE WITH AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Imagine for a moment one of those nights when you just can’t fall asleep and you have to get up early the next morning for a very important meeting of which you are the keynote speaker. Your alarm clock goes off early in the morning waking you from what little sleep you had. You stumble out of bed, have a quick shower, grab a coffee and some toast, and off you go to fight the traffic on the way to work.
Does that sound like the start of a terrible day? Most would answer ‘yes’. Few people however, would answer, ‘no’. These are the people, who are in my opinion blessed with a gift. A gift that determines how they view their life. These people live with ‘an attitude of gratitude’. For them, the situation described could be worse. Much worse. For example, think of the man who doesn’t have a bed, let alone a roof to over his head. When he is awoken from what little sleep he is able to get, it is by the rain falling on his cold body. He too stumbles to his feet and begins his journey to work in his bare feet. His work is in the field of survival. He searches though garbage cans for scraps of half-rotten food to eat and odd bits of clothes to keep him warm.
The purpose of this example is to illustrate that we all have so much to be grateful for. Even in times when it seems that nothing could be worse, there is always a reason to be grateful. And when you feel a sense of gratitude, you feel a sense of happiness and content. My challenge to you today is to learn to look for the good in every situation and live with ‘an attitude of gratitude’.
I assure you, if you were the fellow searching for food in garbage cans you too could find things to be grateful for. You just have to look hard enough and ‘open your eyes’ to what is around you. You have to focus on what’s good in your life, not what’s bad.
“I once was distraught because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” – Unknown
Life works in mysterious ways. Time and time again there have been stories of people who are in a dire strait yet they are found helping others who are experiencing greater turmoil. This is because once you have helped someone in greater need than yourself, you always feel better. You feel better because you have helped another human being, and this forces you to change your mindset from focusing on your problems to focusing on their solutions.
Always focus on the solution, not the problem and live with an attitude of gratitude!Mother Teresa was a primary example of this phenomenon. Her entire life revolved around helping others in need. As a result she experienced a great deal of love and self-satisfaction in her life.
I challenge you now to take a moment to think of five things in your life that you are grateful for today. For example, your friends, your family, your job, your sense of smell, touch, sight, and sound. The list can go on and on. Imagine what your life would be like without these things. Write them down on a piece of paper and really think about the things you are grateful for. You will be amazed at how great you will feel!
Gratitude is such a brilliant gift that has been bestowed upon us if we choose it. The sophistication of this gift is simple. It is a choice. Be thankful for what you have, who you are and who you can be. It’s all about perception. It doesn’t matter what societal status you come from, what your wallet has in it or how you were culturally raised. Be thankful for what you have and feel right now in this exact moment in time. Hard times and good times. These are all opportunities to acknowledge gratitude. To give a shout out to gratitude. As we teach our children to witness this invisible mind thought, the concept emerges within them just as easy as they learn how to brush their teeth, their ABC’s or how to tie their shoes. These are life skills they will use through-out their whole life. Gratitude can be a wholesome part of your healthy intentional conscious parenting routine.
Recognizing The Good
There is a story — maybe an urban legend, but full of truth nonetheless — concerning the famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.
As a child he had been stricken with polio and getting on stage is no small feat for him. He wears braces on both legs and uses crutches. One evening, Perlman was in New York to give a concert. Perlman crossed the stage slowly until he reached the chair, seated himself, and signaled to the conductor to begin.
No sooner had he finished the first few bars then one of the strings on his violin snapped, echoing loudly through the theatre like a gunshot. Perlman was at the beginning of the piece and it would have been reasonable to bring the concert to a halt while he replaced the string to begin again. But that’s not what he did. He waited a moment and signaled the conductor to pick up just where they had left off.
Perlman had only three strings on which to play his soloist part. He was able to find some of the missing notes on adjoining strings, but where that wasn’t possible, he had to spontaneously reorganize the music so that it all still held together.
He played with passion and artistry, instinctively rearranging the symphony right through to the end. When he finally rested his bow, the audience sat for a moment in stunned silence. Then, rising to their feet, they gave a standing ovation. Each person in the audience knew they had been witness to an extraordinary display of human skill and ingenuity.
Perlman raised his bow to signal for quiet. “You know,” he said, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much beautiful music you can still make with what you have left.”
We have to wonder, was he speaking of his violin strings or his crippled body?
Circumstances can throw us off our game or they can strengthen our determination and desire to create a positive outcome. The Hebrew term for gratitude is hikarat hatov, which means, literally, “recognizing the good.” Practicing gratitude means recognizing the good that is already in our lives. With a daily practice of giving thanks, our perspective shifts. Gratitude is a powerful perspective that energizes positive action, and therefore creates a more fulfilling life.
If we thought about it, we would find that we don’t give or hear expressions of gratitude as often as we should. If you feel this way you are certainly not alone. Remembering to Express Gratitude can help us and our family members. Gratitude is more than an inner feeling. When good things are happening around us, when we’re with those we love and we’re grateful and we’re expressing it, the feeling of love and tenderness grows. Gratitude can bring a calming feeling.
(In April of 2005, a young mom was confronted with a diaper rash that just wouldn’t quit. The rash needed some fresh air to heal, but she was also concerned about keeping her daughter warm. In a moment of inspiration, she snipped the feet off of a pair of socks and fitted her daughter from hip to ankle with a cool set of leg warmers. These leg warmers not only kept her daughter warm, but also protected her from the elements, made diaper changing and potty training easier, and protected her soft knees while crawling. With some fun designs and some grassroots marketing support, the functional and fashionable leg warmers that began as a solution to keep little legs warm quickly became much more.)
So what is gratitude, really? It includes saying “thank you” and being polite. But it is more than that. Expressing Gratitude is the beginning of courtesy, generosity, concern and appreciation for family members and others.
A deeply felt and fully expressed gratitude is an effective way to positively influence attitudes and behavior, our own and that of others. Learning to feel and express gratitude can have a significant effect on the happiness and success of every family member.
“A frustrated mother once complained to her neighbor that no one in her family seemed to appreciate what she did. They never commented on how much effort she spent cleaning the house, decorating their home for holidays, and keeping their clothes clean and pressed. They never thanked her for the good meals she prepared or for taking them to school or to work. … She was annoyed that they took her for granted.
“Her neighbor replied, ‘Marianne, you have a clean and attractively kept house. Your children go to school and to their meetings clean and neat. You are an excellent cook, and I can’t think of anyone who is more faithful than you are about doing your Church callings.
“ ‘I suspect that your husband and children recognize your efforts as being praiseworthy. It is possible that other members of your family feel the same discouragement as you do because it just isn’t the practice at your home to express appreciation’ ”
• What did the neighbor bring to Marianne’s attention?
In order to develop and teach gratitude to those in our families we must first awaken within ourselves the attitude of being appreciative. “It is as important for our families to learn to express gratitude to one another as it is to receive it from one another. If we don’t teach others to express their appreciation by our example and by our instruction, they may not learn this important courtesy. … If we want others to continue doing what they are doing, the best thing we can do is to let them know how much we appreciate it”
It is one thing to teach your child how to say thank you. It is something entirely different to teach them how to feel it.
So how do we help our families learn Gratitude? Let me share these 10 ways to help make that happen……….
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal.Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.
2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have
4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.I caused?”
5. Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.
6. Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.
7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.
8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.
9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.
10. Think Outside the Box.If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., (who wrote these steps to Gratitude) is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.
Heart of Gratitude…
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said : ‘ I am blind, please help.’ There were only a few coins in the hat.A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write? ”
The man said, ” I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
I wrote : ‘ Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.’Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective? Be thankful for what you have. Be Creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively..
(EASY TO MAKE BOOKS WITH SO MANY MEMORIES!)
Enjoy your day with a heart of gratitude. 🙂
To teach our children the value of gratefulness, we want to be sure to role model grateful behavior:
Children need to see us being grateful for what we have. That might mean not running out to by the latest pocketbook and newest electronic gadget.
Let them see you saying thank you to the postman, the store clerk, and your friends.
Tell them, “I am so grateful to have you in my life.” If that is too corny for you, you can say, (when they come home from school), “It is good to see you.”
Let them see you and your spouse thank each other. Thank your spouse for making dinner, for taking out the garbage, cleaning a clogged drain or for making the phone call to Aunt Ethel, something you really didn’t want to do.
Don’t complain about all the things you don’t have.
Write a gratitude journal and tell them about it in a non-confrontational, friendly way.
Enjoy the beauty around you and point it out to your children. Sunsets, the sun shining on the snow, laughing babies and blossoming trees.
Understanding child/teen development and their limitations gives us insights into their frustrating but necessary behavior. Being grateful for what we have is one of the secrets of successful living. Fostering gratefulness in ourselves will enhance our family life and give our children the direction they need to cultivate their own happiness.
“If you look to others for fulfillment
you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money,
You will never be happy with yourself Be content with what you have; Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.”
Gratitude is more than an attitude, more than polite manners and positive thinking. It is a way of life and a magnificent legacy to leave our children. So, don’t think about how to instill gratitude in children, instead start taking these steps to instill this significant attitude in your family today, for a better tomorrow.
There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude. ~Robert Brault
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To “Pay it Forward” means that when you have been the recipient of an act of kindness, then you repay this act of kindness to others, which can start a whole chain reaction of random acts of kindness, leading to a whole transformation of spirit.
Over 25 years ago, Catherine Ryan Hyde was driving her old Datsun through a rough area of Los Angeles at night. When her car died and began to fill with smoke at a freeway off ramp, that wasn’t the worst of her problems. Ms. Hyde saw two men running towards her, one carrying a blanket. In her mind, she knew she was dead.
Instead, the men pushed past her and proceeded to smother the engine fire with the blanket. The car could have exploded at any moment, killing all of them. They put their lives at risk to help a stranger. After the fire department arrived and the dust had settled, she looked up to thank the men. They were gone, and she realized she could never repay or thank them for what they had done. Instead she decided to Pay it Forward. That event inspired Catherine Ryan Hyde to write the book of the same name.
A movie based on Ms. Hyde’s book was released in 2000, which got even more attention for the Pay it Forward movement.
Sarah-Jayne read the book Pay It Forward and realized that the world would be a better place if everyone just did three favors for others.
Having lost her own father at the age of eight, she had great empathy for children of a family friend who had just been widowed. Sarah-Jayne took time out to chat to the children helping with their fears and making life much easier for their mother.
This ‘success’ prompted the second favor which was to set up a counseling service at her school, particularly to reduce the amount of bullying. Her third favor was for her neighbor, an elderly woman who was losing her sight.
As she had been the one to introduce the Pay it Forward book to Sarah-Jayne, and was an avid reader, it was a real act of paying it forward to take time out every night and read aloud to this neighbor and keep her company. “I couldn’t believe at first how three small favors could help so many people and all the people I helped have promised to pay the favor forward.” from a posting on a kindness site from Sarah-Jayne Wright , aged 18 from the U.K.:
Let me share a story another story…
The first time Dave watched the movie Pay It Forward it really made him think. What can I do? Can I do anything at all?
A little history about Dave… Dave is only 20 years old and he is an alcoholic as well as a drug addict. There have been people out there that have helped Dave and have not excepted a thing in return just hoping that he could recover from this. Dave felt like it was his turn to Pay It Forward.
About two weeks ago he was at a meeting that he had for work. He had a old friend in town and he thought he would just stop by and say hi. Well come to find out his friend had recently been laid off from his job. He really felt bad for him and his family. He was telling Dave he did not know what to do his money was running out and he d
id not get his pay check from his new job for a few weeks. Not once did he ask Dave for a dime, but Dave thought to himself here’s my chance to Pay It Forward. He had been saving money up to buy a house. He thought well you saved this much up why can’t you do this again.
So Dave gave his friend all his money out of his savings. His friend told him he would pay Dave back as soon as possible. Dave told him to just Pay It Forward. His friend knew what he meant and broke down and cried. Dave’s friend told him he never really thought this movie could inspire someone like him to do this. Dave said “Anybody can do what they want if they put there mind to it.” Have you Paid It Forward today?
I believe that a smile is a cure and that kindness spreads around like a (wonderful) virus.
Random acts of kindness should not just be one day a year, or during a certain holiday…random acts of kindness should be everyday all year long.
So let’s talk about a resolution that might last a year, or maybe even, a lifetime. A resolution that makes you feel good about yourself while you are helping others.
The idea is simple….
You do something good for other people.
These people cannot “repay” you……
They are encouraged to pay-it-forward.
In turn, doing something good for someone else.
And so on and so forth.
The mathematics is simple. If I’ll do something constructive for 3 people and these 3 people in turn do something for 3 other people (each)–we have already impacted 9 people in total. They 9 people will make a difference in 27 people’s life, which in turn will touch 81 people’s hearts…..
This will grow so fast….
Just open your heart and give…..trust in the goodness of man and allow yourself to be overwhelmed.
There are many ways to touch people’s heart. An action, a hug, a word, a smile.
“It takes one NATION to make a difference in the WORLD.”
It takes ONE COMMUNITY to make a difference in this NATION.
It takes ONE FAMILY to make a difference in this COMMUNITY.
It takes ONE PERSON to make a difference in this FAMILY.
YOU ARE THE ONE.
There are so many wonderful ways to get involved in Paying it Forward . Of course, you don’t need to wait until Pay it Forward Day to make a difference in someone else’s life – you can start today! You may be just one person in this world, but to one person, at one time, you are the world. Imagine if each individual looked for the opportunity to help others each day. Imagine the difference that would make.
Go ahead and make someone’s day. See how it makes YOU feel. Then when they smile back and thank you, ask them to pay it forward.…this is how some people paid it forward…..
A complete stranger paid $10,000 so that one lady could have a liver operation that she otherwise could not have afforded. She still does not know who it was who ‘paid it forward’ on the day, but she is forever grateful.
One lady contacted a hospital to see if there were any needy families that could use some flights which she wouldn’t be able to use. As a result one family was able to travel across Australia to be with their very sick family member in hospital.
A handicapped lady had a 10 minute neck and shoulder massage and left money and a PIFD card so the next person could have a massage for free.
One boy noticed a car was just about to receive a ticket. He asked his mum if he could top up the parking meter to stop the person getting booked. It saved someone a $79 fine.
Any random act of kindness can cause a positive ripple effect restoring our faith in the love and compassion of the human spirit
30 Days of G.I.F.T. IDEAS.
1. Forgive some who might have wronged you in the past. Go out of your way to do them a favor.
2. Search out someone who may need some real financial assistance.. Maybe someone had their lights turned off because they could not pay the bill. . You could be the light that they need.
3. Visit an elderly person in need of assistance or a visit.
4. Give someone your car.
5. If you provide services for living, give your services pro-bono
6. Pay someone’s mortgage for a month — or a year for that matter.
7. Help a student with their tuition.
8. Help with an inner city project.
9. Be a mentor.
10. Walk someone’s dog.
11. Shovel someone’s walkway.
12. Babysit for free.
13. Have a fund raiser at your school.
14. Clean someone’s house.
15. Drive people around.
16. Rake someone’s leaves.
17. Play music for the elderly.
18. Leave a huge tip next time you go out to dinner.
19. Give a lottery ticket to a stranger.
20. Treat a police officer to a cup of coffee.
21. Bring some goodies to the fire station.
22. Pick up someone’s tab the next time you dine out.
23. Pay the highway toll for the person behind you.
24. Invite the less fortunate for Thanksgiving dinner.
25. Donate food, clothing, and money to the needy.
26. Buy the movie tickets for the person behind you.
27. Mow someone’s lawn.
28. Cook a nice meal for a friend.
29. Help a homeless person find a home.
30. Read the book, 365 Ways To Change The World, by Michael Norton, and then give the book to a stranger.
How much better would life be if everyone learned the joy of giving? Just remember that each day of your life, you have the opportunity to “Pay it Forward” and help those in need. Eventually, if not sooner than later, it will make full circle back to you.