Is there a Strategy on Teaching how to Be Grateful?

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photo credit by kateausburn

BY RAUL COLON
GUEST PAPI

One of the things I would like to fix about some parents is how they forget to teach their children to be grateful. I see how people at every age forget to thank someone for even the smallest of things, such as having a door opened for them, or simply saying thank you to someone who was polite towards them. I have always tried to be very grateful yet I have to admit that on some occasions, I wish I had been even more grateful. If adults forget to be grateful, how can we expect our kids or grandchildren to be?

One thing I can do is to instill those values onto my daughter, Daniela. Although she is barely four months old, I have to admit that I already worry about those things. As a new dad I want my daughter to have the best opportunities in life and a key to that is teaching her to be grateful for the blessings she has received.

How Do I Teach My Daughter to Be Thankful?
I have to thank my parents, my grandmother Lydia, grandfather Irving and my uncle Irving for teaching me early the importance of being grateful. I know they taught me how to be grateful, but I just can’t remember what they did exactly that made it part of my nature. Was it in me already or did I learn it from them?

 

Making sure she is thankful for the opportunities
• Education – I will strive my best to provide her with an adequate education and I know her mom will do the same.
• Loving Veggies & Healthy Diet – I see the high nutritional value in vegetables and I am vegetarian, I hope she will too. Will she appreciate that her mom and I will have a strict diet for her to make sure she is eating healthy?
• Attention – Will she be grateful that she was our main priority and was well taken care of, while other parents were neglecting their kids?
• Entertainment – Will she be grateful of the toys and time we spent entertaining her?
• Not focused on Material Things – Will she be grateful of the time and love her mom, family members and myself have given her from the moment she was born over material things?
• Shelter – Will she understand that she has shelter and a bed to sleep when others might not be as lucky?

How to Project Gratitude?
I guess the best way to teach Daniela to project gratitude is by showing her. I really want to make sure she takes care of those who took care of her in the future. It’s also important to teach her the magic words like, thank you, Gracias, Merci Beaucoup. Teaching Daniela the Golden Rule of treating others as you would like to be treated, might also help me instill correct values.

Keeping a Good Balance

A good balance of praising when she earns it and correcting when needed will hopefully put Daniela on the right track. I will do as many things possible to teach her that actions bring positive or negative consequences. I will constantly remind her and encourage her to put others before her own interests.

I will make sure to lead by example and try to help Daniela understand these concepts by being a role model and making sure she understands that I am grateful for having her.

How do you demonstrate gratitude? How do you project that energy and those values to your kids?

Raúl J. Colón is Co-founder and President of CIMA IT Solutions Corp. , an IT Solutions and Social Marketing Firm helping small businesses find practical solutions to complex problems. He is Vegetarian since 2006 and founded Veglatino.com a blog where people can learn about the latino vegetarian lifestyle. Raul also blogs at http://raulcolon.net where he shares his personal and business experiences from his perspective. Find him on twitter: @rj_c

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  • http://www.alexklevine.com/blog Alex Levine

    Great article. I, inversely, worry if my parents don’t think I am grateful enough. Instilling a sense of gratitude in me was something I know they strived to do as parents. It most definitely worked with me, whereas my sibling (only 2 years older) is a different story. I know we’re two different people, but I often wonder how something as basic as gratitude just doesn’t stick. I think you can only do so much as a parent, but at the end of the day some things you wish for your child may not happen. What I really remember about them teaching me about gratitude is that it wasn’t always just a short “thanks,” but rather they would often take the time to say “thanks for washing the dishes without being asked, those things do not go unnoticed.” Whenever there was an explanation or something after the thank you, it felt more deep and genuine. My parents still do that to this day and I love it.

  • http://vidacoco.com Coco of VidaCoco.com

    I think like with most things that we try to teach our children, leading by example speaks volumes! I make it a point to write thank you notes to people to show my gratitude for something they’ve done for me, whether it’s to my neighbor who dropped off meals she prepared the week I had my fourth child, my friend who picked up my kids from school for me when something came up or another friend who gave up her Friday night to help me prepare for a charity fundraiser. My kids have seen me sit down to catch up on thank you cards on many occasions and each time they ask if they can help. After their birthdays or holidays have passed, I try to teach them to be thankful for the gifts they received by having them send thank you cards to their gift givers. I created a Christmas “thank you” template last year that you can download from my website and personalize and resize:

    http://vidacoco.com/home-and-work/kids-stuff/item/152-teaching-gratitude

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Alex,

    I have met you in person and I am more than clear that you are doing a great job at what your parents taught you. On my side I can say you are one of the few people that are spreading love and gratitude online in many ways.

    Thank you for always supporting everything I do and for those great “detallitos” you always have with us. Thanks again.

    best regards,
    Raul Colon

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Coco,

    Excellente examples and ideas. I think eventually going by your line of thought it will be easier for Daniela to Catch up on understanding how to be grateful.

    Thanks for reading the post.

  • Pingback: Gratitude to on-line and off-line community Raul Colon

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