Dear FUUSN Community, As we enter into a season that is rich with holidays, tasty meals, time with family, and gifts of all varieties, I find myself reflecting on the importance of gratitude. Notable research has been done connecting an individual’s overall happiness with a regular practice of gratitude.
As a parent, I want to guide my son toward an attitude of being grateful for all that life has given him. My son, like many young people, doesn’t always say thank you without a prompt. When his father works hard to make him a delicious meal, when his grandmother gives him a precious gift, when his teacher compliments him on work well done, it doesn’t often occur to him to say thank you. Sometimes, as his parent, this is hard for me. I want him to be able to pause and notice these gifts, big and little. I want him to be able to express gratitude at appropriate moments. Most importantly, I want him to grow up to be a person who can notice what is good and great about being alive.
I’ve learned that what works better than an irritated reminder from me, is my own modeling gratitude for him. When my husband makes a delicious meal I make sure my son hears me saying thank you. Same with a gift from my mother in law or a compliment from a friend. I say thank you and I mean it. Underlying this is a conscious decision I have made in my own life to take time to notice what is good and going well, and to feel and give thanks.
I think this sort of modeling of gratitude is the key to teaching our young people to say thank you, to pay attention to what is great and good about being alive, and to adopt a genuine habit of gratitude for their lives.
With appreciation and gratitude for our growing relationships and all the adventures to come, Amanda Graff