How do you teach your children the true meaning of gratitude and the spirit of giving… and how do you know if your lessons are sinking in?
As a mom of four children, I had the desire to raise them with strong moral values. I started with a simple goal in mind of beginning with the basic mantra, “doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” We started with being kind to one another, our neighbors and serving our fellow man.
The Holiday season seemed to be a perfect time to put into practice gifting from the heart. One of my most fond memories is playing Santa to families who we knew had a need. We would put together gift boxes and then we would drive to their homes. Each child took turns dropping the gift off at the doorstep then ring the bell and run back to the car that geared for a quick get-a-way. The mission was not to get caught in the act of giving. This was a fun family bonding time with lots of giggles and laughs over the Olympic endeavors of not being seen.
We would then go home and re-experience the evening by sharing our stories of anticipations, fear of being caught and tripping as we hauled it back to the car for the grand escape.
As a therapist and life coach I emphasize BE-ing what you teach. Do what you say and say what you mean. Children gain the spirit of giving by experiencing and witnessing. Through the action of giving and service they intuitively absorb the joy of the emotional connections and power of love.
The teachings begin with the parent. Modeling gratitude and empathy is the best motivator, as we are instinctual desirous of connecting in mind, body and heart.
As a parent, you can know that the gift of gratitude is a part of your child’s psyche and imprinting when you see the sparkle in their eyes, the smile of joy, the tear rolling down their cheeks and the hug with an enthusiastic , “Can we do that again,” ringing from their voices.
In short, BE the gratitude you desire your children to learn and integrate into their character.