As parents, we wonder how to help our children avoid being influenced by a culture of entitlement. I think one of the best solutions is nurturing an attitude of gratitude, both in ourselves and in our children.
My husband and I have a lot to be grateful for at the moment. Next week, we will be watching our daughter and her ice-dance partner compete at Worlds in Turin, Italy. But I’ve found it important to embrace gratitude during the hard times as well as the great times in skating.
Of course, gratitude is nothing new. It’s encouraged by numerous religions. It was even recommended by ancient Roman philosopher, lawyer, orator, and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero in 54 B.C. Cicero said,
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
I’m a member of the Gratitude Community. Ann Voskamp describes the Thousand Gifts List, a powerful process of writing down over time things both great and small for which we’re grateful. While the practice is easy during the good times, it’s amazing how many things we can find to be grateful for during the hard times. After a competition of great performances but disappointing results, I still found I had added 18 items to my Thousand Gifts List directly as a result of the competition experience. It was a good reminder that we can learn from every experience, there’s a reason for everything, and being grateful can help us feel better.
Another online place I love and can get lost in for its gratitude inspiration is Brother David Steindl-Rast’s gratefulness community at Gratefulness.org. Not only does the site have a plethora of information, but it has everything from Practices for Grateful Living to Word for the Day to free e-cards.
Please join me in writing a Thousand Gifts List, keeping a gratitude journal of things you’re grateful for each day, or in just trying to maintain an attitude of gratitude through both the good times and the bad times.