The value of gratitude and contentment in your children.

 

 By Dickson Tumuramye

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow says Melody Beattie, an American author. Gratitude is a virtue of utmost importance for every individual. It enables one to appreciate their entire being, fostering a sense of contentment in the knowledge that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

This profound emotion originates from within and is conveyed through both words and actions, aiding in the cultivation of a positive mindset. Indeed, gratitude can be considered a divine sentiment.

Instilling discipline in children from a young age is a crucial endeavor. As the adage goes, charity begins at home, and so does the teaching of gratitude and contentment. Parents play a pivotal role in this process, starting with the introduction of simple phrases such as “thank you,” “I am grateful,” “you are most welcome,” “I am happy for what you have done for me,” among others. This practice holds immense value as it fosters a child’s appreciation for the things they have been given, shared, or received.

A child who possesses the ability to appreciate even the most modest of offerings is undeniably in a superior position when it comes to their perception of life. It is of no consequence whether the contribution is in the form of a service rendered or a monetary sum, as this individual will undoubtedly exhibit gratitude.

Furthermore, it can help you to familiarize yourself with your child’s preferred love language by receiving affection, be it through words of affirmation, receiving gifts, or any other means. By understanding this, you will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to provide your child with the most effective form of expression.

People who have a heart of being grateful and content with what they have can give generously, are empathetic, and know how to touch where it feels pain. Their ambitions are not driven by selfish motives. They may not necessarily harbor evil in their hearts. They can easily forgive and move on without allowing their emotions to always be hurt.

It would be best if you taught your children to be content with what you have and can provide. The Bible teaches us that contentment with godliness is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). A child lacking a grateful disposition will perpetually find dissatisfaction in any provision made for them. They develop an unwarranted sense of entitlement, leading them to incessantly complain or demand more, regardless of the sacrificial efforts made by their caregivers to provide an abundance.

A child can even tell you that they are entitled to what you are supposed to give them and therefore they don’t care how much it takes you to get it as long as you do your part. They can even tell you that it is your responsibility and it is their right. It does not take long for such children to grow and express characteristics of greed, selfishness, and corrupt minds among others because everything has to work in their favor.

From childhood, teach this child to appreciate what s/he is given. Whether it is a hug or a thank you, this child should feel grateful. You can also demonstrate it to a child. Every time a child does something good, appreciate him/her and show affection.

Also, let your child learn to live within their means. Help them understand that they need to focus on what they have rather than envying what others have. This could result in theft, unfulfilled desires, longing for other people’s belongings, bad thoughts, and stress. Contentment will make them live happily, develop a sense of belonging, hard work, appreciate life challenges and resiliently overcome them.

No child likes to live a bad life and they will be tempted to admire what others have or live a life higher than what you can manage because they don’t understand your daily hassles. They know that it is their right to have what they want anytime. Therefore, instill gratefulness and contentment always.

The writer is the Executive Director of Hope Regeneration Africa, parenting coach, marriage counselor, and founder – Men of Purpose Mentorship Program.