Gratitude is a mindset, but can it be taught? Thanksgiving is but a couple of weeks away. The meanings of the two words “thanks” and “giving” will have an enormous impact on your life and your grandchildren’s. Being thankful and giving back is very important for your emotional and physical well being. I am of the mindset that to fully feel thankful you must be a grateful and humble person. As Dennis Prager says, “Gratitude is the most important element to happiness.”
A MINDSET OF GRATITUDE
This morning I decided to reflect on the meaning of gratitude. Firstly, because of Thanksgiving. And secondly because of an email I received from a writer, who enjoys my storytelling and also lives halfway around the world.
She wrote to me, “Just a thought before I go to bed. When we spoke I wrote down the power of appreciation in my notebook. I think I did so after you said you choose never to complain about the things that happened to you. In a way this is something magical. Perhaps your good luck came to you because you chose to appreciate, to be thankful for what you already had and not complain. The Universe works that way. It gives more when we stop wanting more.”
I had a moment of clarity, after I received the email from my friend. I realized that defining gratitude in words has been plaguing me since I began writing. Not in a bad sense but in a questioning sense. For the longest time, I could not put my finger on who taught me to be a grateful woman and feel its joy.
Something in my daily life would occur, something kind someone said in passing. Something I noticed that made me feel joy and I would think to myself, “How was I so fortunate to experience such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude? And why is it that others can’t?”
It was not until I read and reread the writer’s words did I dive into my answer. And, when I did, I was enlightened.
I came to the conclusion that the feeling of gratitude is all about one’s attitude. It is a mind set.
GRATITUDE: THE BEGINNINGS OF MY ENLIGHTENMENT
As I thought deeper about my past I recalled my mother buying me a stationary set and pencil as soon as I learned to print! Every gift I received, no matter how small, my mother would explain the importance of saying thank you to the person who thought of me. I recalled how my mother taught me the importance of saying thank you, in person, to show my appreciation. My parents set an example and I modeled them.
My mother never told me to be grateful. What she did was instill a mindset and after a time I felt a feeling of joy when I wrote my note or said thank you or helped someone. She taught me the importance of humility, too.
My mother never spoiled me with material possessions. She spoiled me with her teachings and actions.
I am sorry to say our grands are a part of the entitled generation. They expect. Not all — but far more do than don’t. I know that grandmothers who understand the feeling of gratitude can enlighten their grands like my mother enlightened me.
The feeling of being a grateful person is a gift … a gift of a lifetime.
What better time to instill your mark than at Thanksgiving and the holidays.
POINTERS TO TEACH ‘ALL AGE’ GRANDS HOW TO LIVE A LIFESTYLE WITH GRATITUDE
- Separate the word Thanksgiving and tell them the story of why we celebrate the holiday.
- Ask them to name their blessings
- Explain to them the importance of gratitude with a true story.
- Buy them a box of thank you notes, a pen, and a roll of stamps. Write a note explaining the purpose of the gift.
- Buy them books.
- Set an example.
- Stand firm on your values and mention one when a situation arises. Our grands look up to us.
- Resist your urge to shower them with stuff. Instead, shower them with time. And if you live far away send them notes to enlighten them and a little token with meaning. These are the things they will keep and cherish. Be creative.
- Build up your grands. Make sure they understand where their real values come from.
- Teach them the meaning of serving, of giving back and expose them to the great teachers and their stories.
- BE A ROLE MODEL
Our grandchildren write notes, send texts, and make phone calls. Their moms, Jenny and Jami, taught them the importance of showing gratitude.
As the children’s grandmother I always acknowledge the note, text, or call with a thank you.
It is my hope that our grandchildren will enlighten their children about the true meaning of gratitude. That they will pass on the meanings of thanks and giving back in a truly humble manner.
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