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The Art of Gratitude – How to Cultivate it in Your Family

September 30th, 2011by admin

The Art of Gratitude“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” -John Henry Jowett

How often do you express thanks in your family? Many say grace before meals, but how many of you in your families, actively, consciously talk about the blessings you have in life? I am not talking to only the families with amble abundance; I am speaking to all families, in all socio-economic ranges. Learning to and bringing forth a habit of being thankful has a long list of benefits.

“A study done by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough (2003) found evidence that the experience of gratitude leads to positive psychological, physical, and social outcomes. They found that participants who were asked to think about what they were grateful for, compared to control condition participants, experienced over the course of the study”: – Psychology Today

  • Greater levels of optimism
  • Positive mood
  • Increased feelings of belongingness
  • Fewer physical illness symptoms
  • More likely to report helping someone with a personal problem or offering emotional support to others.

From a parental point of view, cultivating gratitude in our family dynamics is a key element in nurturing our children’s spiritual health. One of my biggest desires is to teach my children not just good manners, but appreciation for life, for gifts, for the beauty of this earth, for amazing adventures, for wonderful friendships and a feeling of thankfulness for all the physical abundance in their lives.

Kids of today have everything at their fingertips, and without such a perspective on the positive in life, can often seem ungrateful or even spoilt.

Immediate gratification takes hold and kids fall into a more, more, more vicious cycle, ultimately causing them to grow up and attempt to find themselves in things, instead of looking within, sensing who they really are and feeling grateful to be alive. They typically end up searching for the next kick or the good feelings they get from the accumulation of stuff instead of the good feelings you get from gratitude and love.

The good news is that children are naturally grateful! I see this in my smallest…a little sticker with bunnies on it can send him off into such feelings of love…he looks at me and says with all of his heart, “THANK you mommy!”

So, here are some tips you can use to start cultivating gratitude in your family:

  • Regardless of your religious denomination, say grace!
  • Make saying “thank you” a default habit but actively saying it yourself (only when you mean it!).
  • Before bed, ask your child to tell you at least 5 things they are grateful for and you do the same!
  • Volunteer in your community with your children and help others not so fortunate as yourself
  • Practice this gratitude prayer with your children before bed:
    For each new morning with its light,
    For rest and shelter of the night,
    For health and food, for love and friends,
    For everything Thy goodness sends.
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

How do you express gratitude in your family? A little thanks goes a long way!


This article was written by Sigrid Kjeldsen. Sigrid also owns and operates the site

The Joyful Mother offers inspiration, one on one coaching and other online courses and products that help conscious moms around dissolve resistance, in the form of stress, self-doubt, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm, etc., that stands in the way of living and loving as a Joyful Mother. Links: and

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