Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nurturing Gratitude and Re-defining Success

A seven-year-old guest stated that she wanted a car like a famous reality show family.  I was stunned that she knew anything about this famous family.  She also equated being rich as having “a million dollars in your bank account.”  This was one of my daughter’s friends, so I was quite concerned.  I explained to this young girl that true richness has nothing to do with material possessions, but rather love, peace and joy in your life.  She politely smiled.  While I am careful not to judge other parents, it saddens me to know that any young child would have the idea that success is defined by having large sums of money. 
In a culture influenced by media, we are not our children’s only teacher.  Still, we are their most important one.  We can’t control everything they are exposed to, but we can help frame what they have learned.  We can encourage our children to express gratitude each day. 

My daughter and I have a nightly routine where we discuss the highlight of our day and the lowest point of our day.  We also share what we are grateful for and we end with a prayer of whatever is in our heart.  We invite our sleepover guests to do this as well.  Here is a list inspired by a recent sleepover.  I also participated. 
“I am thankful for”
Stars and rainbows
Catching butterflies
Having a warm bed to sleep in at night
Ice cream cones and popsicles in the summer
Growing bigger and stronger everyday
Candles on my birthday cake
My imagination
Having a home
Going shopping with my grammy
The opportunity to go to school
Being able to stand up for what I believe in
Taking the time to help a friend
Family, Friends and a future
My journal

 As Forest E. Witcraft wrote, “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."  For that, I am also grateful.

Love and Blessings,

Kathleen O'Malley

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