Posts Tagged ‘Children expressing gratitude’

Entering the House of Gratitude Through Many Doors

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

When we think of expressing profound gratitude towards others our thoughts often focus on those people who are the most prominent figures in our lives – children, parents, spouse, and friends.  They have most likely been in our lives the longest and have shared wonderful memories and supported us during difficult times.  To many, this is an obvious choice because they represent the strongest place in our hearts.    When we express our appreciation for them it is as though we are walking through the front door of the “house of gratitude.”

After reading this recent article, I was reminded and encouraged to see that we have more than one door available.  These school students were asked to write letters of appreciation to veteran’s for Valentine’s Day.  As a result of the assignment, one teenage girl, Madelaine took the opportunity to spend time with her father and learn all about his military service.  Their conversation created new memories she will always have of her father, as he died within days of their precious time together.

To me, the young people in this article had the opportunity to express their profound gratitude to someone they didn’t know for what they had given to them by serving our country.  You might say they came in the back door to the “house of gratitude.”  That gesture in and of itself would be very rewarding to the student and the beneficiary.

While they are expressing gratitude to a stranger, they can incorporate a tribute to someone in their own family who is no longer alive but had also served our country in the military.  Although it would have been more meaningful to express this gratitude when the family member was alive it is still a wonderful way to feel and share their appreciation.

Now for the side door.

Sometimes there is hesitancy about how to begin the conversation.  If you can start with a particular subject, like Madelaine did with her father about his military service, the conversation can grow from there.  Once you have entered the “house of gratitude” take the time to mention the many other influences this person had in your life.  It will enrich your expression of gratitude and your relationship.

No matter how you approach it or which door you take, living in the “house of gratitude” is a comfort everyone should experience.  Who can you start a conversation with today?

Free Book Promotion: If you share your story of expressing profound gratitude here on my website during the month of February, you will be eligible to win a free autographed copy of This is the Moment!

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To read the entire article of the school-aged children writing letters to veterans, click here.

School-Aged Children Get Into the Act of Gratitude

Friday, December 10th, 2010

As a wonderful contrast to all of the recent stories about school bullying and children in crisis, it was wonderful to see how the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) designated November 8–12, 2010, as National School Psychology Awareness Week.

More impressive is the exercise they use to “strengthen positive relationships and increasing positive experiences.” It is called Gratitude Works and it encourages students to write letters of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in their lives or the lives of others. The intention is to “reinforce students’ practice of gratitude as one of many pro-social behaviors that can foster individual resilience and well-being and contribute to overall positive school climate.”

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to three graduate management classes at Hofstra University about my yearlong journey of expressing gratitude. I was pleased to receive dozens of emails following those lectures from the students who had done their “homework” almost immediately. They had contacted someone who was a significant life influencer and told him or her specifically how they had affected their life. Every message I received was filled with enormous positive energy, peace of mind and pride in having created even deeper relationships.

Expressing profound gratitude can never start too early. Even school-aged children can think of at least one person who has impacted their life. There are several good reasons to start expressing your appreciation to these people now. The sooner you tell them how you feel, the longer they will be able have to take pleasure in the message. They’ll probably be inspired to help others; in fact, the ripples may very well be felt far and wide, and all because you made these individuals aware of how important they are to you.

Also, keep in mind that expressing your gratitude will likely enhance and enrich your relationships with these wonderful human beings and by starting young, you’ll have more time to enjoy them.

Another consideration is that it’s often easier for young people to speak openly and express heartfelt feelings. Plus, the earlier you do so, the more likely it is that you’ll get better at it, and the effort will become habitual. It’s like exercising an undeveloped muscle.

So what is stopping you? School-age children are doing it. College students are doing it…Why not you – why not now?

To read the full article about the National School Psychology Awareness Week, click here.