Raising successful children is something all parents strive for. To do this, many parents enroll their kids in the best schools and get specialized coaching as a guide and even push their children to the top. After all, hard work, dedication and top-tier training is a recipe for success, right? While this recipe can produce success, there is a key ingredient that is often missing when pushing your way to the top, and that is the art of gratitude.
In fact, one of the most successful and powerful women in the world, Oprah Winfrey has been very vocal on the importance of gratitude, once saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Teaching children to be grateful along the road to success, will keep them on that road no matter the outside measure that is used. Here are some small things to do as a parent to instill an attitude of gratitude in your children that they can carry into adulthood.
Teach Them Gratitude Early
Children need to be taught the importance of gratitude in its simplest form: saying thank you. Teach your children the words and when to say them. They may only be words at first, but as language develops, so does meaning. Your child will soon understand, and by then it will become a habit —a very, very good habit.
Lead by Example
Show your children how to be grateful through your own actions. Say thank you when someone gives you a gift or pays a compliment. Talk about what you have, such as a home, food, clothing and work, and how grateful you are to have those things. If you are one to pray, show gratitude for things through prayer. Err on the side of optimism and keep that glass half full if not overflowing so your kids will, too.
Give Them Opportunities to Serve
Serving others is a wonderful way to experience gratitude. Rake a neighbor’s leaves. Make cookies for your teacher. Write a nice note to a friend. Doing kind things for others naturally brings about a feeling of gratitude both for the one receiving and the one giving. It’s palatable. Just try it.
Much like leading by example, it is important to thank your children when they’ve done something kind. Perhaps your older child played with your baby to keep her quiet. Thank your older child for doing that. If your child cleans his room with or without being asked, thank him. You may even want to tell your children how grateful you are for them. Hearing that often will go a long way for you and your children.
As your children get older, even into adulthood, take it upon yourself to remind them of all the blessings they have. There will be times when they will be down, and those are the times when you need to remind them the most to be in the moment, and to focus on the good around them. Successful or not by society’s standards won’t matter if you have grateful children who know what they have, can keep their heads up, and can move forward with thoughtful purpose.
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