You don’t teach gratitude at Disney World. It’s too late.
We’ve all seen kids in the most envious of positions, presented with something amazing that was obviously quite a cost for their parents or grandparents. And everyone is expecting gratitude. And everyone is disappointed. We assume that a better present, better opportunity, better experience will bring out the gratitude in our children, our co-workers, our employees, ourselves. And we would be wrong.
Maybe there might be a moment of glee. There might be a flash of happiness. But . . .
Real gratitude is taught in the common, mundane moments.
Gratitude is taught around the dinner table, at the checkout line, and in all the little moments in between. Seeing what others have done for you, what you actually have, and being grateful for it is the antidote to so many moments of unhappiness. And the launching pad for incredible moments too. And like most skills that will change your life for the better, it is learned.
This Thanksgiving, this week, this month, take the time to teach gratitude.
Teach it to yourself by writing a thank you note, counting the three things you are appreciative for about your spouse, and reminding yourself that this job that drives you crazy would be someone else’s dream.
Teach gratitude to your staff by asking them to name the three things they love most about their job or reminding them of why you are grateful for them. Model gratitude by saying thank you even for things that you feel entitled to like on time work and proper execution.
Teach it to your children by refusing to let them complain about what isn’t on the dinner table, and instead saying thank you for what is. Show them how to say thank you even for gifts they don’t like. Remind them that being thankful isn’t just about them but also the other person. Ask them to name the things they are grateful for just in your home. Have them write thank you notes or draw thank you pictures for the people who are coming to Thanksgiving (this will also keep them busy - bonus!).
When you teach gratitude daily, you instill the ability to enjoy the big moments. And you create a better life for yourself and those around you.
What are you grateful for today?