“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
-Hamilton Wright Mabie
We truly feel that teaching gratitude is the seed of happiness.
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Last Christmas we were extremely blessed with great company, delicious food & plenty of packages under the tree. But the greatest gift came from within, a grateful heart. It is always at this time of year that the feeling of gratitude is most active, and the intensity of this feeling usually lasts until January, but soon life takes over and we forget to take inventory of all of the blessings in our daily lives. This year, we as a family plan to cultivate this feeling throughout out the year by taking time each day to count our blessings, teaching gratitude, by taking pleasure in the simple moments and by honoring those who have touched our lives in both small and big ways. We truly feel that teaching gratitude is the seed of happiness.
Teaching Gratitude is the Seed to Happiness
Instilling an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in my son is something that will have a lasting positive effect on his life. Research shows that grateful people are happier, have more energy and optimism, are more resilient in the face of stress, are more compassionate, less materialistic and are generally more satisfied with life. These results prove that gratitude is more than good manners and positive thinking. Teaching gratitude is a way of life, and a wonderful inheritance to leave our children.
We considered ourselves very fortunate that the UPS man made many deliveries to our home last Christmas, and as a result, many empty shipping boxes began to pile up in the garage. At some point, they began to resemble a small city and this is where the idea for our Thank You cards was born. L became very excited about making his Thank You cards once he realized that it involved spray paint, boxes, and Christmas lights!
Getting my son involved in making the cards gave him a sense of ‘investment’ and more motivation to sit down and show his thanks by authoring the cards. We’ve put a lot of thought into our set design, just as those who gifted him/us put into choosing our gifts. I think that going through this process made L’s gratitude more genuine and heartfelt.
The instructions are simple. Save the boxes that you get delivered. Use construction paper and cut out the windows and door and paste on. Provide markers, stickers, and embellishments for the kids to decorate their villages.
We took all of the boxes outside and spray painted them blue (his favorite color!). After letting them dry we began to cut out windows and doors of various shapes and sizes. We brought the boxes back inside the house and began arranging them to resemble a cityscape. We used the available packing paper to make our clouds, then added battery operated Christmas lights inside of the buildings as well as in the clouds. The final touch was placing a big Thank You sign (a tribute to the iconic Hollywood sign) in the background of our cityscape. I photographed the scene and then printed them out as Thank You postcards which L personalized with a short message.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to plant this seed of teaching gratitude early in my son’s life and grateful for the heightened awareness that being a parent brings. I am so happy to be his role model and through my attitude of gratitude, I will ensure that he grows up mindful of how very blessed we are.
For more ideas on instilling gratitude in children:
Mosswood Connections is the creation of a couple of play therapists who happen to be parents. We are sharing the many strategies and activities that we have created or used to enhance the development of all children, particularly those with special needs.