Raising Resilient Kids: Promoting Gratitude in Your Children

RAISING APPRECIATIVE, GENEROUS CHILDREN

It was the worst whipping I ever received but it left an impression on my soul as well as my seat.  I will never forget the whipping.  I hope I never forget the lesson either.    

My twin brother and I have the same birthday.  My sister’s birthday is five days before my brother’s and mine, though she is six years older.  One year my uncle sent three birthday cards – one to me, one to my brother, and one to my sister.  My card had three crisp five dollar bills inside.  My brother’s and sister’s card had none.

My parents tried to explain that the $15 dollars was to be shared equally.  But the lesson was lost on this ten-year-old boy.  I threw a fit.   My parents threw the book at me.  They took the money away and gave me the whipping of my life.  I was a selfish, thoughtless child.      

I don’t agree with whippings.  But I do agree that there are ways to impress the values of appreciation and generosity upon our children.  We want our children to be grateful for what they have.  We want our children to be generous with others.

​Teaching our children to be appreciative for what they have and generous with others begins with you and me.  As Good Dads it is our job to establish a tone in our home that is joyful, hopeful, and grateful.  Our children are watching us.  They are listening to us.  Our children need to see an “Attitude of Gratitude” in us and a heart for others.

​I asked my boys – Jason, 21; Aaron, 23; and Clayton, 25 – how they would raise children to be appreciative and generous.  This is what they had to say.

  1. Involve children in the family budget, family vacations, and major purchases.  If your children want to go skiing or buy a car, have them start saving their money.
  2. Lead by example.  Your children learn from you.  If you want your children to be appreciative and generous then be appreciative and generous parents.
  3. Talk to your children about being appreciative and being generous.  Talk to them about selfish, too.  If you let your children’s selfish behavior go unchecked then they will conclude this acceptable behavior.
  4. Give your children a place to apply what they are learning – sports, summer camps, and other activities.  Lessons become complete and meaningful when children experience them for themselves.
  5. Teach your children to say “please” and “thank you,” and help other children who are not as strong or able.  If someone needs help with something, give a hand!

My boys are raising me to be a Good Dad!  Let’s learn from them and from your children, too.  Let’s start small, let’s start at home, and let’s start today.  Let’s raise children who are grateful for what they have and who are generous with those around them.

 

I am grateful for you!  You are a Good Dad.


About Author

Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at jsippy@rlcmail.org