Gratitude and Being Grateful

by MARIA on October 11, 2012

Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

My oldest is learning about gratitude and showing gratitude in school right now. He came home with a small assignment he had to work on and he was given a week to complete it. Whenever he felt grateful about something, he had to note it and what he did to show gratitude for the situation.

This kid is such a doll and he’s sensitive and sweet. I’m quite sure he gets it from me.

This is some of what he came up with:

  • I showed gratitude for making the choir by singing my best at practice.
  • I showed gratitude for earning video game time by hugging my mom.
  • I’m grateful my dad made it to Hong Kong safely. I showed gratitude by emailing him and telling him I love him.

There’s more but these were the ones I was allowed to share. Little dude has rules.

I think the best way we can teach our kids is by really talking to them. We personally take every opportunity to talk things out with the kids. We talk about things we hear on the radio and the news, things we hear at school or through friends. We have the kids talk it out with us and we welcome questions, no matter what they are. We always ask them how they would feel in a certain situation so they can feel gratitude, but also empathy for others. I just think the absolute best thing that we can do for our kids is be open to conversation, and let them know that. When they’re young, there are so many teachable moments and you have to take advantage of that.

I also think that we must teach gratitude for things that have nothing to do with material items – in the end that’s just crap really. We do that by pointing out all the glorious things you see when you look out the window, for example.

Looking out the window – what a concept!

As a little girl, my dad would pile us kids into the baby blue Thunderbird with its white pleather seats and we would go for drives through the country every Sunday. We would roll down the windows, drive by many farms and my dad would insist that we point out all the animals and make the animal sounds. We would drive and drive until we got to the next town and the Dairy Queen and we would stop for ice cream. Then we would turn around and do the same thing all the way home. We LOVED it as kids because my dad worked so many hours and it was our special time with him, that we could depend on. It was nice and predictable and we loved every moment. We had his attention and we could talk and laugh and enjoy each other. My parents loved it just as much as we did.

Now, we do the same with our kids and every time my little sweethearts point out the horses and the cows and the sheep, I get a little emotional while having a personal flashback. I see how much joy they get from something so simple and I just love that.

It feels good to know that they can be thankful for things that really matter. My daughter made a little “thank you for” mobile at school last week for our Thanksgiving, and I loved what she said she was thankful for.

(family, MY BED, KittiNS)

(raiN, mY house, SUNSeTS)

I may or may not have cried (with joy) when I saw her choices, because it was just confirmation that the little moments are the ones that really count. I knew at that moment that those times that we played in the rain, those times we ate ice cream while watching the sunset, those times we spoke about how lucky we are to have a home and a warm bed to sleep in, really mattered.

For that I am grateful.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Your Hubby October 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

Beautiful post. I may be far away right now but you made me feel so much closer. Big hugs and smoochy kisses.


2 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thanks husband. I will reward you for your comment when you get back. :)


3 Stephanie October 11, 2012 at 10:24 am

Adorable LOL


4 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 10:25 am



5 Kat October 11, 2012 at 9:03 am

Our children will reflect what they hear and see from us, and not necessarily the ‘lessons’ we try to impart. I’m thankful that my children (13 and 8 ) continue to surprise and make me teary-eyed at unexpected moments. Carrying on your father’s tradition is so lovely.


6 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thanks Kat!


7 April October 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

That was a beautiful post. It’s so important to remember and take advantage of all those teachable moments. Good Job Mama.


8 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

Agreed. Thank you April!


9 Sandy October 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

Awwwww this is so sweet.


10 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for reading Sandy :)


11 Hollie October 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

Beautiful, and you are so right when we see what our kids are grateful it teaches us so much.


12 Chantal October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

beautiful post Maria!


13 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks Chantal.


14 Parent Club October 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I love this. I’m trying to instil in my kids gratitude and appreciation…which I think grows to graciousness. It’s such an important life skill. Well done Mama.


15 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thanks Caroline.


16 SassyModernMom October 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Oh too too sweet, and a big pat on the back to you Mama. Clearly, to have babies create grateful lists like those….you are doing it right!


17 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

THanks Steph.


18 Loukia October 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Love this, Maria! Beautiful.


19 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Thanks Loukia!!


20 Insane Mamacita October 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Such a wonderful post Maria! I have been thinking of starting gratitude journals with my boys (well only with our oldest, who is seven, as our two year old can not really understand that right now).

Your family tradition sounds wonderful. I love that you are carrying it on with your children. I tried doing that with camping (as I went camping as a child) but we have to sell the camper as we need new windows for the house. So, I must find another family tradition to pass down to the kids.


21 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Thank you!!


22 beth October 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Fantastic post ! Families are so busy these days, its nice to hear stories of togetherness. Your post brought tears to my eyes. #blessed


23 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Thanks Beth!


24 Elaine October 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I just love that memory about the drives with your parents. My kids need to do more looking out the window… And the mobile is so sweet.


25 MARIA October 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Thanks Elaine!!


26 Harriet October 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

So sweet. I love that image of the car and the animals and the noises and the ICE CREAM! Right now I take my three-year-old to part-time daycare in the stroller if the weather’s good (rather than drive) and he loves pointing out the birds, the leaves, the sticks, people’s houses. It’s so cute. *sigh*


27 MARIA October 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm

THanks Harriet


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