I love Father’s Day and Mother’s Day celebrations because it is a time we get together for a few hours over a nice meal and enjoy each other’s company. Tradition in this country is for gifts and cards, too. (Well, come to think of it isn’t that our tradition for everything??) In many families I believe it is a time to remind children of all ages that it is someone’s special day and to be nice. Kids hear, “Don’t fight.” “Be nice.” “Say Happy Mother’s Day”, “Happy Birthday”, or whatever is celebrated. Some even get dressed up in their finest. There are many special celebrations!
I sit here wondering how these celebrations are different in families that practice living from their heart every day. I would love to see discussion on this page! My grandson is naturally a from- the- heart- kid. He enters the door and seeks both of us out for a hug and “I love you” before heading off to do something. He never leaves without a repeat. In between, he has his “Why can’t I…” “I want…”, “Why do I have to…????” , like many other kids, but he is respectful and caring every day. Celebrations are not necessary when every day is from the heart. The interesting thing is, those that live from their heart, look forward to celebrating others! They don’t resent it, it is a joy!
Each child has their own unique personality and reacts to living with the same upbringing in different ways. Some truly hold onto living from their heart more easily than others. Others become entrenched in serving themselves. This is one area where modeling doesn’t always work. (But don’t stop exhibiting through your words and actions how they should be!) Not all children learn to be loving from being treated lovingly. We cannot expect children to want to treat others the way they are treated because the truth is many receive the message that they are worthy to be treated that way. Reciprocation is not considered when it is they who are the deserving ones. Conundrum sometimes, isn’t it?
Giving gratitude each day is a wonderful way for children to begin to learn to live from their heart. It can start with one thing, one general thing, one superficial thing, one selfish thing. And it doesn’t even matter if it is sincere in the beginning. Gratitude is a way of living that takes time for many, especially if they believe they are entitled. It is a small thing to do in your family. It can be done with each child, one at a time each day. Every day. Consistently. Why do I say one child at a time? Firstly what a special discussion time for you and your child every day! Secondly, kids are competitive. By talking with them alone, each has the opportunity to speak without feeling theirs wasn’t as good as a sibling. Janet Eltaktouk wrote an article in the Sun Sentinel entitled Five Ways to Create an Attitude of Gratitude in Children that continues this discussion. Every little bit of gratitude is a good thing!
After a few weeks, discuss gratitude about certain activities, abilities or people. What are you grateful for that happened in school today? What are you grateful to Grandpop for? Later, you can add things like, Do you think your teacher knows you are grateful for him or something he did? How could you let your sister know you appreciate her? Children who begin to recognize all the things in their lives they have to be grateful for, and give gratitude for them will increase living from their heart. The day will come when most days are days of celebration!