I personally think it’s important to be intentional about showing gratitude every day. We all look forward to our annual celebrations each year to celebrate the big and little things that have happened in our life. But if we live our lives without looking for ways to demonstrate gratitude more consistently than at an annual meal, we could ultimately set our family and our kids up for a dangerous future. I know that may sound a little extreme, but think about it. When you don’t practice gratitude—
You develop an unhealthy ego.
A healthy ego is important. You want your kids to grow up with the confidence to pursue and accomplish goals. You want your children to believe in themselves. But that’s different from raising them to believe they are better than everyone around them. It is dangerous for kids to grow up and believe they really don’t need anyone else. When you develop the habit of expressing GRATITUDE, you build a constant reminder into your life of how others have contributed to your success.
You invite the wrong kind of friends.
The best way to burn through good friendships fast is to never show gratitude. Smart friends are not going to stay in relationships with people who just use or drain them. So you can expect the right kind of friends to avoid ungrateful people. At the same time, those who are ungrateful will tend to attract friends who are the same. So if, “the quality of your friends will determine the direction of your life,” ungrateful people will tend to go down a slippery path.
You fuel an attitude of entitlement.
If you want your kid to grow up and believe “the world owes me,” then let his or her ungrateful attitude go unchecked. Gratitude focuses on the idea that I should appreciate the role others play in my success. It implies that when someone does something for me that I recognize the value they add to my life. Entitlement implies that others do what they do for me because they recognize my importance. Without a habit of gratitude you convince yourself that the rest of the world should help you because you deserve it.
You breed discontentment.
We all tend to drift toward an “it’s never enough” attitude because of our focus on what we want. Discontentment is how our problem started. Think about it. Two people who lived in paradise and had everything became obsessed with the one thing they didn’t have. As a result they lost everything. Discontentment is a dangerous thing. Whenever you show gratitude, you are simply readjusting your focus. Gratitude is simply turning your attention from what you don’t have to what you do have. If you want your children to become content adults, then help them understand why they should be grateful.
You nurture a critical spirit.
Did you ever stop to think that practicing a positive virtue actually helps you overcome a negative attitude. If you have a tendency to be jealous, learn to praise and celebrate what others accomplish. If you have a tendency to be indifferent toward others, then do a few random acts of kindness. If you have a problem with being critical or negative, then become intentional about showing gratitude.
So, it’s simple. If you want to raise
and negative kids,
then don’t practice gratitude in your house.