A brilliant man once said, “A person who is not grateful cannot experience greater happiness.” Through the power of gratitude, you are able to communicate your appreciation to family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. Gratitude is a powerful feeling of positive abundance. It motivates. The lack of gratitude gives you a feeling of deprivation. It fatigues you. Gratitude is associated with greater happiness because it is an uplifting positive emotion. And, it will help you deal with adversity. I speak from personal experience because I know the physical and emotional feeling of gratitude.
Darling, the positive state of gratitude is overpowering.
Young People and Gratitude
You and I don’t want our children and grandchildren to go through life ungrateful. What a loss for them. What a loss for society. In my opinion, young people today don’t seem to care about the feelings of others. They only have empathy for themselves. They are wrapped up in their personal goals, opinions, and needs. And, they can’t see the forest from the trees. They think they know all. They feel they are entitled and many see accumulating ‘things’ as their key to happiness. As well, they don’t realize that investing in only their emotional and material needs will eventually come at a great cost.
For those of us over the age of 50 — mothers, grandmothers, and aunties — we sit in the driver’s seat to express to our children and grandchildren, nieces, and nephews that they can catch happiness if they pursue a life of gratitude. Teach them that life is not all about them; it is about reaching out to others to bring them joy and appreciating the gift of family and life itself.
It Is Never Too Late
Most of our generation grew up differently. Our mothers were home and raised us. Dinner was a family affair. Hugs and kisses, good teachers, and simplicity were abundant. We listened to our parents. We had no other choice. They were our parents. Today parents listen to their children!
I am not old fashion. Trust me. I remember when my daughter’s high school friend was growing marijuana on our roof in Honolulu and I laughed. My late husband did not find it amusing. Today, I am just as lighthearted and fun.
It is never too late for you to step into the picture and give your children and grandchildren the important reality check that counting one’s blessings is as important as anything you do in your life.
Way’s to Achieve This
There are a few ways you can achieve this. One way is to lay your cards on the table and let them know how their behavior is making you feel. Tell them stories of doing for others that have brought you the feeling of uplifting happiness. Tell them stories of how other’s kind ways made you feel an outpouring of gratitude for their thoughtfulness. Lastly, with them in tow, give them a writing pad and a pen to write the following:
Ask them to write one item about their family that is positive. Write one thing that is going well at work, at home, your looks, your talent, your friends, and one small thing in your day that made you happy. Then ask them to read out loud to you their answers (if they are comfortable sharing.) Finally, ask them to pause and simply be grateful. This little test may enlighten them to think about gratitude.
Purchase what I call a ‘Happiness Jar‘ or a ‘Blessings Jar‘ for each of your grandchildren and write a story of your personal experience. Teach them the importance of valuing people and not things. Tell them we know they are ‘busy’ pursuing their dreams but they should never be too busy to forget the importance of being kind and empathic to others. And make them this promise, that if they count their blessings every day in some way they will live a charmed life.
Too many young people and older adults, for that matter, talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. One or several life experiences is always the best teacher. Therefore, I don’t think the feeling of gratitude can be felt. That is until you have an experience that gives you a marvelous feeling towards another person for what they have said or done on your behalf or the joy you feel for doing something for another. Then and only then can you absorb the meaning of the inner joy gratitude brings.
Never Take a Blessing for Granted
I don’t know the mechanics by which you begin to acknowledge your blessings, but I do recall the first time I felt empathy for another person and helped her. I was in the second grade. And, I do recall how happy I made her and I vividly remember to this day how happy I felt.
I never take a blessing for granted. Actually, I never take anything for granted. When I am granted anything large or small I am forever grateful. This is a lesson I want to leave my children and grandchildren in their heads.
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