Opinion Saturday #8

It’s Opinion Saturday again. You give me your opinion on a topic. I choose the best-reasoned, best-stated answer. The winner gets the prestigious (wink, wink) “Golden Keyboard Award”, a place on my sidebar for a week, and a code to put the award on their webpage for as long as they like.

I read this post from Dolly Mama. Her question was a good one, and one I have struggled with too. It is such a big challenge: to help our kids be grateful for what they have, and to teach them to take joy in the simple pleasures of life. How do you cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your children? What works? What doesn’t?

Even if you don’t have the entire answer, share any ideas that help, OK? Feel free to go answer on Dolly Mama’s blog, since this question came first from her. Or write here, or on your own blog, whatever you prefer. Just let me know in comments where I can find your answer. Since some people have mentioned they’d like more time to participate in these little contests, I’m going to run this contest till Monday evening. Hit me with your best thought!


  1. By very simply and humbly modeling this behavior yourself!


  2. Tried that! (hasn't worked very well) 🙂

  3. You're right, Dollymama! Modeling the behavior doesn't always work…the childs personality, among other things, plays a big part, too!

    Being a parent is tough work!

    carla…mom to 9 (and a few of them have been very strong-willed & spirited!)

  4. Well, I'm a new Mom so I certainly don't have all the answers. I think what we will do is not give DD TOO much. I think that only leads to kids wanting more and more and never really feeling satisfied. We will provide necessities and occasionally "the extras", but we don't want DD to never learn to be appreciative. A

    Another idea might be to expose kids to those who have much less. Maybe that would help them be thankful for what they have.

  5. Well, I think the word you chose was very fitting: cultivate. Parenting is like a garden. There are things many good things you can do like choose a sunny spot, cultivate the soil, eliminate weeds and pests, water and fertilize…but even with the best of efforts you could have a drought, hurricane, or grasshopper invasion that totally wipes out your crop.
    On the other hand, you can have a potato come up in your flower bed that you did not (intentionally) plant, did nothing to cultivate, and didn't even know existed until you saw this weird vine thing come up and your kid pulled it and out came a potato. (This happened, for real, just this week.)
    There are wise things you can do to cultivate a child's heart, but in the end you just can not control another person's attitude. They have to choose it for themselves.
    That being said, I think the best answers to cultivating a thankful heart are the ones you already know. Model the attitude, weed out excessive activities, don't give them too many material things, and when you see the attitude tell them it is an indicator that they have too much and are not appreciative and therefore you will help them be more appreciative by taking away some of what they do have.

    I didn't state the most obvious–prayer–and I should have stated it sooner because I do think it's the most important.

  6. I think modeling is important. And I think living simply is important too. Exposure to those who have less works for all of us no matter our age, doesn't it? I know moving to a poor country has made me realize how rich I am, as an American, and has made my kids realize it too. I know everyone can't move, but I do think exposure is key. And also teaching. Sometimes parents are afraid to say, "Be grateful. Stop whining. Look around at all you have." Simple, not a complete answer, but it's helped us. Of course prayer is the most important thing, so I saved it for last.

  7. The best way to help anyone to become grateful or sympathetic is to have them serve others. Why do you think Mom's are so great?

  8. As I've thought more about this I've been reminded that this is a *process* and not necessarily something I can expect to be *just right* when the kids are young.

    I the opitome of contentment without much stuff, and my kids re not accustomed to many material items, money, nor being spoiled in any way. If you read some of my blog, particularly last summer when car repair problems and financial difficulties had me singing the praises of being able to stay at home and enjoy the simple life you will see what I am talking about.

    I think that really my kids are very flexible when things don't go their way, and they accept a lot of not having stuff that everybody else has. They also appreciate it that I stay at home with them rather than have a career to provide them with stuff.

    So, it's a process, and they're coming along, and I'll keep helping them and cultivate my own contentment in knowing they are all on a journey. I was just really frustrated the other day that they couldn't jump in to a pretty-good-actually situation and just enjoy it.

  9. I really don't know a good way to teach graditude, but your post reminded me of a poem I recieved once. I have posted it to my blog.

    I am new to blogging and really enjoy your posts.

  10. I had an experience like this last month. See our Gratitude Lesson. I think our children need to be told exactly what behavior (even what specific words) will encourage us to do things for and with them.

  11. How about a giant list. (I love making lists.)

    Start it the back of a roll of old christmas wrapping paper (so it can become really long). Use markers (gasp!)

    Let everyone write what they are greatful for. Post it in the kitchen wall or on the family room door and keep it there for a week (month, year, years??) to keep adding to.

    See who has the most things to be greatful for.

    Rules: You can't duplicate (only one kid can write "mom" or "candy") see how creative the children are when brainstorming for things to be greatfull for after all the obvious stuff is listed.

    Sound fun?

    Signed Bombadee who's "Greatful I didn't step in dog poo today"