3 GREAT Ways to Raise GRATEFUL Children
What’s worse than an ungrateful child? While millions of Millennial twenty-somethings today are most-often accused of being “entitled”, what can we do this week with our little ones to help them avoid becoming similarly spoiled, self-consumed and shallow adults?
Noted educator, Dr. Michele Borba, says that “Eighty percent of people today think kids are more spoiled than they were 10 to 15 years ago.” In another poll, it was found that “only 12 percent of 2000 adults feel that kids commonly treat others with respect.” Instead, most described children today as “rude”, “irresponsible” and “lacking in discipline.”
Left alone to their natural default modes children will tend to become spoiled, insensitive to others and lacking in the consideration of others they need for life. Once they graduate high school, these traits tend to be set in the concrete and can define a child’s life and future. Unfortunately, ungrateful kids all too quickly become ungrateful adults. An entitled attitude and outlook creates a person who is:
- Lacking persistence to overcome challenges in their lives.
- Depressed and depressing to be around.
- Difficult to be around and off-putting.
- Devoid of empathy.
With that in mind, the best day to start nurturing gratitude in your child is TODAY. And, this is a great season to underline gratitude and share some experiences with your child that will help you do so. Here are a few ways we believe will help you nurture gratefulness or gratitude in your kids:
- Expose your child to other nations and to children in deep need through videos. There are great stories you can read about and watch via video at websites like Compassion International, World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. Learning more about amazing children in must less fortunate environments will impress something on your child.
- Have a “Nation Plate” Meal Week at mealtime. Walk around the world at mealtimes one week or one night a week. You can have one night with an “Italy Plate” with spaghetti, on the next have a “Mexico Plate” with tortillas and a “Burundi Plate” (one of the poorest nations of the world) with very little on it. Every “Nation Plate Night” just before your bring the food out from the kitchen, have your kids close their eyes. Once the food is on the table, announce the nation and then talk about that country. One the third or fourth night, focus on Burundi or another impoverished nation. Let your hungry child experience some shock over how little they see on the plate for their hungry stomachs. Talk about that and what it must be like to have so little. Watch a short video about children in those areas. Then, have something later to help fill their stomachs (or not!).
- Fill up a “Grateful Box” before your prayer time. Create a big colorful box with your child and then ask them to go through the house and fill it with the things they like most. Then sit down and pray together, thanking God for each of those “gifts.”
These things and similar ones should help you nurture the quality of gratitude. But, be intentional and determined about it. Not only will it help your child and their future, it might help change yours a bit at home today. As writer Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend.”
What are some other ways you work to grow more grateful kids in your home? Share them! We would be so “grateful” if you did!
Read more blog posts like this one from Robert & Pamela Crosby – Teaming Life at teaminglife.com.