Are we bringing up children to be ungrateful?
I have become my mother already. I hear myself saying ‘In my day…’ and one of my favourites ‘you can’t be starving you have just had something to eat. Think about the children in this world who really are starving’.
The response I get from my 8 going on 15 year old, is a roll of the eyes and a ‘yeah yeah I’ve heard it all before’ look. Not really using… the power of gratitude!
When did she become so ungrateful? Maybe I should rephrase that because is it that she is ungrateful or just unaware and naive? Are we bringing up our children, who are surrounded by technology to a level that seems absurd sometimes, to be unappreciative and ungrateful? Or is it more about the fact that they live in a very very different world than the one I grew up in. How is it that my 8-year-old wants a mobile phone and her own iPad? How is it that she feels hard done by because her friends have snap chat accounts? I am genuinely worried about the pressure and need she may feel to keep up and in doing so, losing a sense of what really is valuable. So, as her Mum, it’s my job to guide her and teach her the power of gratitude in a world that seems to be all about taking.
The Power of Gratitude
In my opinion, children are crossing boundaries that I would have never dreamed of stepping over in my youth. We live in a throwaway society where the good old values I was brought up with have given way to self-centeredness and greed. Manners are being forgotten too. The use of “please and thank you” seems to be a daily battle with my own kids as well as seeing it in others.
Growing up I was the youngest of three. My parents went through financially very difficult times and equally some seemingly affluent times too. Although I don’t remember being aware of feeling grateful, I certainly understood the value of money from a young age. I felt incredibly lucky to do all the activities I did, and the holidays and adventures I was exposed to. I also learnt the importance of manners and good behaviour, because there were consequences, rather than empty threats.
So as part of my role as a Mum, I am looking at ways to help my children see the true value in things. That life isn’t just about the materialistic items; it is much more than that. Valuing the unconditional love, time, energy and constant support they have is something I want them to understand and be grateful for. That hard work, determination and working towards goals is all part of life. That acts of kindness are vital in their development and growth and will give them so much in return.
I don’t pretend to know the answers because I am just like any other parent- I am learning as I go. It’s trial and error- sometimes I get it right, other times I get it wrong. All I do know is that I will continue to do my best in order for my children to understand the power of gratitude.