Teaching Children Gratefulness (cont.)
At the Parent Coaching Institute (please highlight and link to www.thepci.org) certified parent coaches often encourage moms and dads to take time for writing in a gratitude journal. It may be something your entire family wants to try. Children and teens who are focused on the blessings in their lives tend to respect themselves, as well as others. They are often generous people, as well. If you want to begin this activity with you child, a terrific gratitude journal with can be found at www.Imthankful.com. By writing regularly about what they are thankful for, children’s ability to express gratefulness expands. You will be delighted (but don’t be too surprised) when you hear your child say, “Thanks for washing my clothes yesterday. I really appreciate it!”
I was first introduced to the concept of aliveness when asked such a question as above by Dr. Charles Johnston, a Seattle-based psychiatrist and founder of the Institute for Creative Development (please highlight and link to www.creativesystems.org). In his book, The Creative Imperative, Dr. Johnston defines “aliveness” as “…the amount of creation, the amount of ‘living reality,’ embodied by a particular act or situation…. aliveness is a direct statement about, and measure of, purpose. We feel purpose and ‘are’ someone precisely to the degree we risk living from, and in relation to, what makes us most alive.” (1)
What makes your child feel most alive? What makes you, your family, your spouse feel most alive? These are important questions because when you answer them, you know more about your strengths and your child’s strengths. You understand yourself and your life purpose better. You see your child, your family and your spouse in new ways. By intentionally accentuating qualities of aliveness, you bring opportunity to teach gratefulness. Brother David Steindl-Rast reminds us “High peaks of aliveness are also always marked by intense gratefulness.” (2) In a sense, the measure of our gratefulness could be a gage of the “amount of creation”—of aliveness—we experience in any given moment. The more often your child feels vitally alive and connected to life and to loved ones, the greater his or her capacity for gratefulness.
Copyright © Gloria DeGaetano, 2009. All rights reserved. No reprinting rights granted without the author’s permission.
For information on receiving permission to reprint this article by obtaining your own PDF version, please click here or contact Gloria DeGaetano by phone at 425-753-0955 or by e-mail at info@GloriaDeGaetano.com