By Romanlily

By Romanlily

It is often noted that the more we are consciously grateful for the happier we are in life. Oprah once said, “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough”. I believe this to be true. There have been times when after being very content with my home and lifestyle I go to a new friend’s home and come back feeling less enchanted by my possessions after being exposed to their possessions or style. I am ashamed, but it’s true. I also find that shows on HGTV and various catalogs that get uninvited into my mailbox make me covet and feel dissatisfied.

As a parent,  I have been disappointed by my children when it comes to being ungrateful for the abundance in their lives. I do not buy frivolously (although my husband might think otherwise). My children don’t often get things “off season” of birthdays or holidays. So where does being ungrateful of possessions or gifts of experience come from? I think that it takes practice to make being aware of your blessings a natural daily act but I do believe that it is possible.

How do you teach children about gratitude?  Here are a few ideas.

A book I have mentioned previously called 10 -Minute Life Lessons For Kids by Jamie Miller offers four ideas to teach gratitude. The following idea is a visual representation of seeing your blessings which can help make an impact.

This activity can be done in a group. You would need a saucer, plastic spoon, salt, black pepper and a piece of woolen cloth

First, fill a saucer with a half cup of salt. Have a child sprinkle a small amount of pepper over the salt and stir the pepper around. Next, the child holds the plastic spoon over the salt and pepper without it touching but close to it. Explain that the pepper represents the blessings in our lives and that it is often hard to see those blessings when they seem to be outnumbered by our problems or our “wants”.  Focusing on what we don’t have makes us feel empty like the spoon. Now have the child rub the spoon with the woolen cloth and hold the spoon over the bowl again. The pepper should be attracted and stick to the spoon. Stopping often to think about our blessings in life (positive relationships, nature, conveniences in life) makes our hearts grateful and open to seeing the good in every day.

Another activity to encourage gratitude is to make a gratitude journal. Have your child make a special journal to write down daily something for which they feel thankful. Or, make a special box that your child can keep souvenirs from experiences that they are thankful for as a visual reminder.

One thing that my family does regularly at dinner time is to go around the table and talk about something good that happened during the day. Sometimes I specify saying something that they are grateful for and sometimes we just talk about the positive moments of our days. Thanksgiving is not the only time to remember to be grateful. Make it a habit and see if it brightens up each day.

I am grateful for the ability to teach yoga, share my ideas, and for you, my readers.