Teaching an Attitude of Gratitude in an "It's all about me" Age
Teaching an Attitude of Gratitude in an "Its all about Me" Age
One of the most difficult concepts to teach a child is gratitude. The big problem is that all children start out "ego-centric." If you aren't familiar with that concept it simply means that the world revolves around them. Our job as parents is to somehow move that concept to where the child (against his own nature) - thinks about others first, and actually is thankful when others do or give him things. The other issue is that our culture encourages this concept of "me first." From t-shirts to sit coms our teenagers are getting the message that "It's cool to think about me" and if you don't like it... "talk to the hand."
After raising 6 preschoolers I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the most difficult jobs I have ever faced. The attitude of gratitude is not easily taught, and I would have to say, it is "caught more than it is taught." Showing our children how thinking and doing for others is so much more rewarding is the best way to get the message across. During the holiday season, it's the perfect time to show our precious ego-centric children how to acquire an attitude of gratitude.
1) Take time to find needy families in your community that you and your children could help. Start a canned good drive, or get the other families in your homeschool co-op to work together to fix a Thanksgiving dinner for a homeless shelter.
2) Have your children gather items to take to a rescue mission. They are always in need of hats, gloves, soap, and razors.
3) Keep your eye out for neighbors, people in your church, or even fellow homeschoolers that might be having a tough time this holiday. Get your children to launch a Christmas present drive for their children.
4)Make baked goods to deliver to all your neighbors for Christmas.
5) Have your children make lists for who they want to GIVE gifts to instead of lists of what they want... and my personal favorite... have them write thank you notes for each gift they receive at Christmas.