5 ways families can have a spirit of gratitude

posted in: The Ponds | 0

Sponsored by: The Ponds
By: H. A. Fisher

As we enter into a season of giving it’s the perfect time to pause and insert a little more gratitude into our daily lives. For families, this is an excellent opportunity to help children grow in their gratitude, developing a lasting spirit of thanksgiving that will carry them into adulthood.

In fact, some of the first studies looking at children and gratitude have found – not surprisingly – that gratitude helps people form supportive, meaningful relationships and feel more connected to their community. Pre-teens and teens who feel grateful are happier, more optimistic and more engaged and satisfied with their lives.

It’s hard for parents to argue with those benefits. Yet in today’s instant-gratification culture, it can take a little extra effort to guide a child down the path to feeling grateful. First and foremost, parents can model this behavior whether it’s through simply expressing thanks for the daily comforts of food, shelter and clothing or through volunteering and charitable work.

Regardless of their age, children can be part of this season of thanksgiving. Here are simple ways to get started, spark conversations and engage the whole family.

  1. Start in your own space. Look around your neighborhood for ways to help others – raking leaves, helping an older neighbor bring her garbage can to the curb or inviting a single mom and her kids over for dinner.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal either individually or as a family. Write down three things you’re grateful for each day and then share and discuss during family dinner.
  3. Use social media for good. Depending on the age of your children, commit to a daily social media post that expresses a spirit of thanksgiving. Maybe it’s a photo of the fall leaves on a sunny day or warm cup of coffee enjoyed on the front porch – it doesn’t have to be fancy, just sincere. Use and follow hashtags like #thankful, #gratitude, #grateful or #30daysofgratitude to be part of a larger movement.
  4. Find ways to help those who are less fortunate in your community. Because of the recent flooding in Charleston and around South Carolina, many people will be having a tough time this Thanksgiving. Contact organizations like Lowcountry Food Bank, Lowcountry chapter of the American Red Cross and Trident United Way for information on how to help.
  5. Take time to appreciate the beauty all around you. Living in the Lowcountry, it can be easy to take for granted the gorgeous surroundings. Simply loading up the kids for a walk or bike ride is a simple way to truly enjoy nature. Families who live in The Ponds are fortunate to have plenty of walking and biking trails and The Ponds Conservancy right in their backyard, not to mention Shultz Lake and two ponds perfect for fishing and kayaking.
  6. Sometimes it just takes interrupting the daily hustle and bustle of school, jobs and outside activities to bring about an attitude of gratitude. And this is the perfect time of year to hit the pause button.