Our children’s lives can become clogged with school, sports, getting the video games they want, and thinking about what kind of entertainment is most important at the moment. How do we teach them the value of life itself—gratitude for the things they already have and the beauty that surrounds them?
As we get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget to take our time and enjoy the beauty of the moments around us. Appreciation can’t be hurried. It must be savored—slow down and let gratitude into your life.
Young children are naturally curious. They will stop to watch a ladybug crawl across a leaf or giggle as they chase a grasshopper through the grass. Kneel down with them and explore their world.
Have a “Gratitude for Nature Day”
1. Take a nature walk in your area.
2. Make a leaf sculpture—include pinecones, acorns or the like.
3. Dry some wild flowers and laminate them into bookmarks.
4. Identify the birds and butterflies in your area. Draw and color them and put them in a scrapbook.
Kids love doing things with their friends. Discuss with them the things that make their friends special. Help them understand how friends make life better.
Have a “Gratitude for Friends Day”
1. Throw an appreciation party and share something special about each of your friends.
2. Tuck a thank you note in a friend’s backpack.
3. Compliment each of your friends during the day.
4. Invite your friends to a sleep over.
Sometimes we don’t appreciate those we live with and love. Take time with the whole family to talk about everyone’s good qualities. Examine the ways our relationships make us better people.
Have a “Gratitude for Family Day”
1. Draw names for a Secret Family Pal. Do something special for that person.
2. Make your mom a special ‘I Love You’ card.
3. Play ball with your dad.
4. Read your little sister a book.
Look for the good in the people around you and the beauty in your surroundings. It will improve your quality of life and enhance your children’s view of their world.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy