Thomas Lickona, psychologist and author of CHARACTER MATTERS: HOW TO HELP OUR CHILDREN DEVELOP GOOD JUDGMENT, INTEGRITY, AND OTHER ESSENTIAL VIRTUES, offers parents these tips for nurturing gratitude: (I would add that these virtues are sadly missing in today’s world, and it is up to us to teach our children and grandchildren these virtues in order to bring our world back to a place where they will be safe and want to live in.}
1- Teach that gratitude is the secret of a happy life. If you want to be happy, count your blessings every day.
2 Foster an awareness of how much we take for granted that we ought to be thankful for…..
3.Have a family discussion in which each person gives his definition of gratitude. Share the insight of Catholic writer Anne Husted Burleigh: “Gratitude is not a feeling but an act of the will. We choose to be thankful, just as we choose to love.”
4. Encourage your child to pray a prayer of gratitude as soon as he wakes up…..
5. Model saying “Thanks you” to anyone who does you a kindness or service.-including waiters ,etc……and require your children to do the same.
6. As an experiment, ask each family member to keep a Gratitude Journal for two weeks. At the end..have a family meeting and share……
7. Challenge all family members to see if they can go 24 hours without complaining. ……
8. Discuss this statement from St. John of the Cross: “One prayer of thanks when things go badly is worth a thousand when things go well.”
9. Share stories about gratitude. Example: When asked to share the biggest lesson learned from drifting 21 days in the Pacific, WW11 pilot and hero Eddie Rickenbacker answered, “That if you have all the fresh water you want to drink and all the food you want to eat, you ought never to complain about anything..”
10. Ask each family member to Google “gratitude quotes: and then share favorites. Each week, post a different quote on the fridge.
11. Start a family dinner conversation by asking, “What is something you’re grateful for today?” Or name something someone in the family did for you lately that you appreciated.”
12. Express thanks: Before you children can play with or spend a birthday or Christmas gift, they must first write a thank-you note.
From Nov. Catholic digest: www.catholicdigest.com