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Virtue 101: Gratitude
U. S. A. | NEWS
Practical tips on how to live and foster the virtue of gratitude in the family.

flower of gratitude2

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.

GOAL:

  • 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 and maturity.
  • 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.

WHAT MAKES 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:

Before all 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 teach them.

1. Always smile and say “thank you” for everything you receive, even if it is for apparently small and unimportant things.
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 thanksgiving.
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.

Resolution:
I will joyfully thank everyone, especially those closest to me. I will do so not only with words, but also with actions. 

“What you have freely received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8)


PUBLICATION DATE: 2009-09-25


 
 


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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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