Gratitude goes beyond good manners - it's a mindset and a lifestyle. Teaching our kids to say, "thank you" is important, but truly instilling a sense of gratitude in them is another matter entirely. A Wall Street Journal article about raising kids with gratitude cited that kids who count their blessings reap concrete benefits - including greater life satisfaction and a better attitude about school. So how can we help our kids learn to live gratefully?
1. Name your blessings.
Have a moment of thanks each day when everyone shares something they're thankful for. Whether the list includes a favorite toy, a good moment from the day or a birthday card from a relative, this daily tradition can help develop a positive frame of mind.
2. Be a grateful parent.
It goes without saying that we love our kids and that we're thankful beyond words for their love, their smiles, their hugs and so much more. When we tell them what makes them special to us, their self-esteem is boosted for the right reasons.
3. Have 'em pitch in when they want something.
When kids themselves take the time to save up, they have an ownership stake in the purchase and gain an understanding of the value of a dollar by working toward what they want.
4. Insist on politeness and respect all around.
When we teach our children to treat others with dignity and respect, they'll be more likely to appreciate the ways in which those folks contribute to and improve their lives. By the same token, they'll be less likely to take assistance and kindness for granted, and more likely to give it the value deserved.
5. Find the silver lining.
It's human nature to see the glass half-empty from time to time - and children are no exception. When kids complain or gripe, it can be helpful to find a response that looks on the bright(er) side. It's called an "attitude of gratitude" for a reason - it's about the perspective more than circumstance. As parents, we need to remember that it's more productive to teach our kids to be resilient and refocus them on the positives they may be overlooking.
At Michigan Sports Academies we have a passion to see lives changed through sport. This month, across fields and courts, we are focusing on GRATITUDE. Here are some questions you can use to start a conversation about GRATITUDE with your child:
1. What made you laugh today?
2. What inspired you today and why?
3. What abilities do you have that you're grateful for?
4. Whom do you show GRATITUDE towards?
5. What opportunities do you have that you're grateful for?
Want to know more?
MSA WORKS on the hearts and minds of our athletes through our core values and yearly themes. Our core values are the heartbeat of MSA and they facilitate discussion and growth.
WE RECOGNIZE that at a certain point in our player's lives the ball will stop rolling. That's why MSA works to provide our athletes with the structure to succeed in life beyond the sport.
OUR ATHLETES are not defined by their sport. Sport is what they do, not who they are. And so, developing character is of the utmost importance. We want our athletes to become not only great competitors but critical thinkers that possess the skill and integrity to navigate life's changes.