Jenn and John, parents of Clay, 19 months, never intentionally taught their son to say thanks. Yet one day, in the midst of a rather long babble of conversation, the two heard Clay say “Thank you” quite clearly. “We stopped in our tracks,” says Jen. “It made me realize that Clay’s words reflect our married relationship, and we say ‘thank you’ to each other often.” Continue reading
Make it automatic. While some parents may be uncomfortable with how unnatural the forced “thank yous” of young children seem, most kids need hundreds of reminders to say “thank you” before they start doing so naturally. Parents shouldn’t be afraid that a prompted “thank you” has less value than a spontaneous one—the prompts will lead to the spontaneous, just as parents can eventually let go of the bike and the child rides away without tipping over.
“It’s a slow process, like making sure they drink all their milk at dinner or unconsciously buckle their seat belts in the car,” says Nancy, a mother of a 7- and 10-year-old. “But we’re trying to ingrain in them that it’s an automatic response for anything anyone does for them.” Continue reading
A few years ago Dave, father of five, lost his job and had to take a new one at a significant salary cut. Dave and his wife, Maureen, sold their home at a considerable loss and downsized into a much smaller home. They cut family vacations, name-brand clothing, eating out, and many other things they had previously enjoyed. Looking back on the past several years, however, Maureen is not bitter nor resentful. Instead she is grateful.
“It seems that all the fluff, the extraneous ‘stuff ’ in our lives we thought we couldn’t live without, was simply clouding our view of what was really important,” she says. “Clearing the material clutter stripped us down to our core, our true selves, leaving us space to be grateful for what we value most . . . our family, our good health, and most importantly, our faith that has carried us through.” Continue reading
Today, in a very hectic moment, I ran across this wonderful video called “A Good Day” by Brother David Steindl-Rast. I called my 14-year-old daughter up to the computer and we watched it together. Invite your kids to watch it with you.
Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who contributes to the website gratefulness.org, which offers many wonderful ways to express your gratitude for your family, your life, and all the other blessings showered on us all.