Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone was born with an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’? You’re physically helpless at birth, totally dependent on others to have your needs met. For the most part, every need is tended to. Parents provide their children with love, food, clothing, and a warm place to sleep.
Most people as children don’t have to struggle for these basic necessities. You may take these things for granted as they are amply provided.
Expressing your appreciation for the good in your life and teaching appreciation to your kids is something you learn, rather than something you’re born with. Most people learn it from their parents or their own life experience, and then teach it to their own children.
One of the ways you teach your children to express gratitude may be through prayer. Regardless of faith or religious affiliation, many families hold hands and give thanks for their daily bread, although this is a less common ritual than it was when your parents were growing up.
Many children across this country are taught to kneel next to their bed at night and thank the powers that be or ask them to bestow their blessings upon them and their families. Of course, prayer is not strictly a Judeo-Christian practice and it doesn’t matter what form of prayer you do. There is no right or wrong way to pray, and it can be done in a way that feels good to you, any time of the day or night doing any form of activity.
Heart-filled prayer is a wonderful way to express your appreciation for the good in your life, but it is not the only way. For some, old-fashioned prayers are nothing but a shell, something that they know they should do. For others, they are no more powerful or meaningful than reciting a story from memory.
When you feel appreciation for what you have, you open yourself up to receiving more things, experiences, and people to appreciate. The more often you express your gratitude, the deeper you feel it in your heart. The pull you create attracts opportunities to you and grows stronger.
One of the best times to express your gratitude is as you’re falling asleep and waking up as these are the times of day when you are most “open.” These are the twilight moments when you’re not fully awake, but are awake enough to consciously direct your thoughts. At these times, you can access your subconscious more easily and program your messages of appreciation.
If you haven’t expressed gratitude to the Universe since you last recited, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” you might need a little practice. A small journal by your bed is a great tool, and kids may love this too. Commit to writing down just five things that you experienced or saw that day that felt good. Start small. It could be as simple as seeing a rainbow or playing with your child. Do this right before you fall asleep, filling yourself up with grateful energy. Encourage your children to think of things that felt good to them each day.
In the morning before you get out of bed, reach for your journal and review your list from the night before. Maybe even several days before. This starts your mind and your heart with positive thoughts and feelings. This can be a wonderful tool to use as a pick-me-up.
Encourage your children to create their own gratitude journals. If they’re too young to write, you can offer to help them. This gives you the opportunity to listen to your son or daughter tell you how wonderful their life is because they saw the coolest bug or because their teacher called on them in class and they knew the answer to the question. You never know, that just might make it into your gratitude journal, too.
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© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.