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Fostering An Atmosphere of Gratitude

This summer a very large gift will be presented to our family, and ordinarily I accept gifts happily. I've struggled to accept this one. Have you ever gotten a gift that seems extravagant beyond expectation and have you struggled to accept it? Perhaps it's a good problem to have.

I found that in the formation of my children I have struggled with the world around us to set a good example for them. Society today has a sense of entitlement and immediate gratification. "I don't want to work for it, and I want it now" kind of attitude is just not what I want my children to learn.

This gift, this summer is beyond what HH and I could afford to provide for them. It's a gift for us as well as for the children. While HH and I know clearly the financial situation, we can recognize this gift as a truly grand one, one that will probably never be duplicated again. The children, on the other hand, don't know that. I don't want to raise their levels of expectation to these highs without realizing how much work it really does take to get to this kind of prize.

I don't want them to assume all children live like this, because they don't, we don't, and I struggle to make sure they understand that point. We live in such a wealthy nation, and if they really knew what life was like in Africa or Haiti, this would be a mute point. But they don't know. And as many times, as I have discussed it with them, they won't truly know how blessed they are.....

Unless, we make a point to teach them gratitude. HH and I have designed a plan to work on with the children before this grand gift is presented to them. It is my hope that they see through hard work and practicing virtue, that grand prizes will await them.

We will have one jar and one bowl. The bowl will be filled with pennies. The jar sits empty. For every act of gratitude (see below) they can put one penny in the jar. For every complaint a penny is removed.  We are starting with $5 worth of pennies.  If the jar gets filled, they have done 500 acts of gratitude and earned their Grand Prize!

I was hoping for more of a list, but this is what I have so far.....Any more ideas? Let me know!

A Few Ways To Show You Are Grateful

Saying Please & Thank You Often

Asking Mom how to help her – Then Do It!

Helping a Sister or Brother

Eating what ever food you get with a smile

Finding the good in a tough / yucky / smelly job

Respecting Couches – Sit, don’t stand on them

Empty dishwasher before breakfast

Serve others before yourself

Say a decade of Rosary: intention thankfulness

Make list of 10 things you are thankful for

Compliment of the Cook of your food

Restaurant- Pleases and Thank yous often to waitress

Surprise someone with an act of kindness

Make a small card for someone telling them why you are grateful for them

Asking only once for a treat or privilege



Anonymous said…
What a great idea....especially in todays world where people seem to expect everything to be given to them like it is their right. I often think that with a little more gratitude in the world, people would be much happier. Thanks for sharing.
Mary said…
I love it! I'm going to keep this in mind for my family.

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