With Thanksgiving upon us, perhaps you’ve been reflecting on gratitude lately like I’ve been. My thoughts have been on the web of beliefs and character traits necessary for thankfulness to truly describe us.

What do you think we and our children need to believe in order for gratitude to take root? That we’re not entitled to anything? That working for what we want is appropriate? To accept it when we don’t get or become what we want? That putting others first is right? That God is the provider of all things? What else can you think of?

What are some connected character qualities? In other words, if you strive to raise children who are content in all circumstances, won’t gratefulness be a more natural response to life? I think so. And, it’s true for us, too. What else? Other-centeredness? Compassion? Humility? Generosity? Cheerfulness? Sensitivity?

I believe we can intentionally raise children to be grateful and not just express gratitude occasionally when they are supposed to. We can be this way, too! Catch your children acting on these related beliefs and exhibiting these related attributes and affirm them. Talk about what you see. Celebrate what you see!

This is the perfect time of year to give birth to thankfulness that is who we are and not just something we do.


Today’s blog post is slightly edited from my column in the Celebrate Kids email newsletter that will be sent to our subscribers tomorrow. It’s free, brief, helpful, and sent every-other-Tuesday. In addition to my column, Tina Hollenbeck writes one especially for parents. We’d love to email it to you. Subscribe here. Thanks!