Last week, I posted about the difference between being grateful and living gratefully. When children live gratefully, they’ll develop self-respect, self-control, and respect for others. Do you value these qualities in children? Then, help them root gratitude in beliefs rather than in circumstances.
Three related beliefs cause us to be grateful. They are life satisfaction, contentment, and inner peace.
What do we model before children in our lives? Do they hear us
- complaining about what we don’t have?
- whining about not getting our way?
- talking about past decisions that have ruined our lives?
- worrying about the future?
- disappointed in people who let us down?
- angry because things don’t satisfy us?
- compare ourselves to others as a way of determining our worth or happiness?
- not say “thank you” because we’re taking things for granted?
- not say “thank you” because we think we deserve to be treated well?
If, like me, you have faith in the God of the Bible, these negative behaviors are even more devastating to children. They indicate more than a dissatisfaction with life. They indicate a dissatisfaction with God. Children will discern this and it will negatively affect their attitudes toward life and God.
So, where are you today on a scale of 1-10 when judging your contentment, inner peace, and satisfaction. What’s the evidence? We all have days here and there when we may whine, complain, and not say “thank you.” But, in general, are you living gratefully?
If you’re not pleased with your score, perhaps the most important thing you can do is examine what you’re expecting to satisfy you. When we put our hope in the wrong things or people, we will be disappointed. Worry and anger can result.
Any changes you want to make? Go for it!