Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cultivating Gratitude

I would like to share with you an article I just read by Carla Naumburg at Psych Central. Mindful Parenting: Cultivating Gratitude

The article was written in response to a question about how to instill gratitude in kids without drilling it into them.

Here is the full article

Below is my synopsis of the information Carla Naumburg shared.

1. You can't give children what you don't have.
     Her suggestion: Find a way that feels natural for you to express gratitude on a daily basis.

2. Model it first.
    Her suggestion: Share the ways in which you are grateful. Establish a routine for how you share, such as at dinner or bedtime. Or express gratitude as it occurs
for you.

3. It doesn't have to be a big deal!
     It is enough to say thank you to someone or for something. Appreciating in small ways makes a difference.

4. Don't Force it
     Trying to force kids to accept something doesn't work. Realize that over time, they may come around.

5. Respect individual differences
     People vary in the degree to which they naturally feel grateful. Let them come to express it in their own way. Being exposed to a culture of gratitude will allow them to get there.

6. Let them be ungrateful, too.
     Everyone needs time to wallow sometimes. Allow your kids to move through their feelings. Otherwise, they will just dig their heels in!

7.Let go of the outcome
     Children know when you are being real. If you are pushing gratitude just to teach them, they will see right through it.

For me, living with gratitude allows me to live more in a positive, feel good place. I tried to teach my kids gratitude, but finally realize that what I feel grateful for isn't necessarily what they feel grateful for. My (adult) children are teaching me that they see things to be grateful for that I miss.

I now choose to express gratitude as the opportunity comes. Sometimes, my gratitude is expressed as a "reframing" of a circumstance. While on vacation this week, we found ourselves in a new place without electricity for several hours after sunset. My gratitude is that my family had a more positive perspective from which each of us operated than others around us. Sure, there were moments spent in "why did this happen to me?" and "someone should do something about this (unexpected) event".

In dealing with the situation from a place of how can we deal with this, my granddaughter reminded us that "this is just an adventure"!

How do you deal with gratitude and where do you see your influence being reflected back to you?