What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the virtue that makes us aware
of the gifts we receive each day and appreciative of
the generosity of the giver. It moves our will to
respond to these gifts by developing them, using them well,
and putting them at the service of others.
- To help
our children give thanks for what they have and for
what they are instead of lamenting what they don’t have
or would like to be, since gratitude fosters personal enrichment
- To teach our children to be grateful for life
itself as a priceless and free gift. This gratitude should
lead them to live life to the full, in accordance
with the purpose for which we were created.
- To learn to
be attentive, and to stop and enjoy the moments of
happiness and spontaneous joy in our lives. The happy moments
come freely and unexpectedly, so we should not lose our
sense of wonder and thanksgiving before the apparently “small” and
simple things. In order to help our children learn to
stop and discover these moments of simple joy, we need
to help them acquire an attitude of constant gratitude and
openness of heart.
LIVING GRATITUDE MEANS:
- Focusing on the good in
our lives and on the good in other people.
- Recognizing all
the good we have in ourselves and in our lives,
and giving our best to improve each day.
- Not lamenting what
we don’t have or what we are not, but applying
the means to achieve our goals.
- Always think of the needs
of others and use our gifts to help them.
IT HARD TO LIVE THIS VIRTUE:
- The “me-centered” focus of today’s
culture can lead us to think we are somehow entitled
to everything. As a result, we can end up thinking
we have the right to demand without giving anything in
return and without giving thanks for what we are given.
- Materialism and consumerism, which prevent us from enjoying and being
thankful for what we have, and which always drives us
to want more and more.
- Ambition, which can lead to a
perpetual sense of dissatisfaction and unhappiness with what we have.
HOW TO FOSTER AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE AT HOME:
else, we must never forget that as parents we are
the model that our children will imitate. We must be
the first ones to live everything that we want to
1. Always smile and say “thank you” for everything
you receive, even if it is for apparently small and
2. Take care of your things, keeping them
in order and sharing them with whoever needs them. Do
not waste your gifts: food, water, electricity, clothes, etc.
3. Thank others with gestures and actions, such as a note,
a little gift, etc.
4. Every morning, thank God for
a new day and tell him you will try to
live it well.
5. After meals, say a quick prayer of
6. Say a prayer of thanksgiving at night with your
children for all of that day’s gifts, and ask for
help to use those gifts for others.
7. Never complain or
lament over what you don’t have.
8. Enjoy your family activities,
especially the simple things.
9. Make an effort to thank others
for the work they do for us, and recognize their
efforts even if it doesn’t turn out well.
10. Learn to
see the needs of others.
I will joyfully thank everyone,
especially those closest to me. I will do so not
only with words, but also with actions.
have freely received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8)