How to teach your grandchildren gratitude

March 26, 2017 Published by
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Dennis Prager, a well-known speaker and author, states that “gratitude is the key to happiness.”

Today, I decided to reflect on the meaning of gratitude because of an email I received from a writer, a young woman who lives halfway around the world. After reading some of my stories, we Skyped. The next day I found her email in my inbox.

Choosing to appreciate

“Just a thought before I go to bed. Last night when we spoke, I wrote down ‘the power of appreciation’ in my notebook. I think I did so after you said you choose never to complain about the things that happened to you. In a way, this is something magical. Perhaps your good luck came to you because you chose to appreciate, to be thankful for what you already had and not complain. The universe works that way- it gives more when we stop wanting more.”

I immediately thought of Dennis Praeger’s words, “gratitude is the most important element in happiness.”

Passing along gratitude daily

I am very lucky that each day I feel grateful. I often wonder how I acquired this feeling of deep appreciation. As a child, my parents showered me with love and healthy values, but for the life of me I don’t remember them teaching me to “be grateful.”

I clearly understood after I received the email from the writer, that defining “gratitude” had been plaguing me since I started writing. Not in a bad sense, but in a questioning sense. I could not put my finger on who taught me to be grateful. Something nondescript would occur, something kind someone said, something I noticed that made me feel joy and privately I would think to myself, “How was I so fortunate to learn this feeling of gratitude?”

And as I continued to question over time, it was not until I read and reread her words and thought that I could put my finger on my question.

“I came to the conclusion that feeling gratitude is an attitude. It is a mindset.”

And as I thought deeper about the process of how I came to be so grateful, I recalled my mother buying me stationary when I had just learned to print. Every gift I received, no matter how small, I wrote a thank you note to show my appreciation. I recall my mother teaching me always to say, “thank you,” to show my appreciation. She never told me to be grateful, she instilled this mindset, and I physically felt joyful after I wrote the note or said thank you. My mother could have spoiled me with material possessions. She chose not to take that path, and I learned without her saying, “be grateful”… to be grateful when I received some material possession.

Now that I have finally lived into my answer, I decided to turn my attentions to our grandchildren–yours and mine.  I am sorry to say they are the entitled generation and it turns me off.

They are given so much that, in turn, they expect to receive. How can they turn out to be great adults if they expect everything to be handed to them?  What can we, their grandparents, do?

Teaching gratitude to grandchildren by example

First, you have to ask yourself, do you feel gratitudeIf you do, you know that feeling of joy and happiness. Why not make this a priority and hammer this mindset into your grands?

It has been proven that a grateful person is a happy person, filled with empathy, self-esteem, and optimism. I know you want this for your grands. As do I.

How can they feel gratitude for their opportunities and privileges when it is received through no effort of their own? They get so much stuff from their parents and grandparents that it is easy to understand why they feel entitled.

It is imperative to explain to them that all their creature comforts don’t just pop out of thin air. Teach them to recognize and be grateful that the things they own or the places they travel came from someone else.

Tips for teaching grandchildren to be grateful 

 1. Ask them to name their blessings.

 2. Show them through your actions that you are grateful. Tell them a story.

 3. Explain to them why you are grateful.

 4. Resist the urge to shower them with material stuff.

 5. When they want something, ask them why they need it.

 6. Buy them a gift of thank you notes.

 7 Teach them to give back and how to act out “It is better to give than receive.’

 I tell my grands to see their glasses as half full and to appreciate everything

In the last month, we had two grandsons, Jack and Logan visit. A week after Jack left, I received a hand-written thank you note with a small gift…a little notepad with a pink Eiffel Tower, bejeweled with tiny rhinestones. I know my daughter, Jenny, bought the charming pad and I also know it registered with Jack that he was showing his gratitude to his Honey by taking the time to write a note and say, thank you.

Today, not twenty minutes ago, I opened a note from Logan. He left last week. He used the word gratitude in his note. My daughter-in-law, Jami, taught him well. He also hand painted a portrait of our pooch, Orchid. When he gave it to us, I saw joy overflowing in him.

My musings, today, are also for you, dear readers, who might want to lace your life with more gratitude.

There are many women who shine their light. They smile, they have empathy, and they are secure.  They know the marvelous feeling of gratitude. Seek out those women, watch them and listen to them because it is never too late to learn.  You will be grateful that you did so.

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14 Comments

  • jane says:

    Great post! I loved all the suggestions. I try to keep a gratitude notebook where I jot down three things I am grateful for at night. I have had a lot of tragedy in my life, esp the last 7 years. I am trying to focus on what is good and be happy. It is not always easy but beauty abounds…..

    • Honey Good says:

      I have know many types of tragedy so I can relate to you. I always tried once I got hold of myself to focus on what was good and it proved uplifting and gave me the tenacity to move forward. You will, too. Warmly, Honey

    • Honey Good says:

      I feel certain I already wrote to you. My computer is telling me I did not so to be on the safe side I want you to know that I know how you are feeling because I have been where you are. I, focused on the positive by thinking positive thoughts and doing some positive things. It was no easy but it certainly helped. Good for you for focusing on what is good. Warmly, Honey

  • Allison from SoCal says:

    Excellent post, Honey! This is so important for everyone today in this madcap world of ours!
    Today, I just wrote a thank you email to my church’s hospitality leader as he had outdone himself at today’s after-church meal gathering! I had complimented him verbally after the service & meal, but I was so truly appreciative of his efforts to please our congregation & have us partake of his culinary efforts that I felt the need to reach out & actually write my thanks to him!
    Gratitude is a blessing & we need to let others know when they have touched our worlds for the better! So I also thank you, Honey, for posting this for us to read, ponder & acknowledge!

    • Honey Good says:

      Oh! Thank you so much. I am touched by your thoughts. And, the hospitality leader will really be thrilled with your note. And I know you felt happy writing it. It is a win win for all and isn’t that just, so nice. Warmly, Honey

    • Honey Good says:

      You have touched me. And, I thank you. Warmly, Honey

  • Toni says:

    Thank you…..

  • Dobby says:

    I absolutely love the article on Gratitude….as You said my parent’s always told me to respond with a "Thank You" when I received. Thinking back after reading this I never heard the words grateful or gratitude. For some reason in spite of that I am grateful for many blessings that have come my way. Many things that would probably not enter anyone else’s mind. I have been in the shower and felt gratitude for the warm water & beautiful soaps, when so many in the world don’t even have sanitary drinking water. My Grandsons are grown I wish I could have read this years ago. Maybe I could have instilled in them to feel Gratitude. I so enjoyed this article!!!

    • Honey Good says:

      You can try to instill at every age. Tell them one of your stories that will stick in their heads. It is never to late to learn to feel the joy of gratefulness. You know.. Warmly, Honey

    • Honey Good says:

      I wrote to you at the end of my musings. I hope you received. Please let me know. Warmly, Honey

    • Honey Good says:

      It is never to late to explain gratitude at every age. I know you would do a beautiful job because you know gratitude is a ‘feeling,’ a wonderful feeling. Warmly, Honey

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