I recently noticed that my ten-year-old daughter has a decided lack of gratitude. She is not outright rude, and I don’t believe that the lack of gratefulness is intentional, but I don’t like it. I was getting myself a drink, and she asked if I could get her one. I poured her a glass and set it on the table, since she was playing games on the computer. “It will be over here, I don’t want you to drink it right next to the computer.” I told her. “Yeah,” she replied, without stopping her game. “That is not the right response,” I said. She looked up from the computer at me, puzzled. “I brought you something, what do you say?” She clearly did not get it, so I just out and told her. “Thank you. When someone does something for you, you should always say thank you. “Thank you,” she said with absolutely no trace of sincerity and went back to her game.
Expressing Thankfulness Daily
This incident got me looking at myself as a father. Do I express thankfulness often? Do I role model thanking people and counting my blessings? In order to encourage an attitude of gratitude, I decided that we should start saying daily one thing that we are thankful for. This is a convenient time of year to begin this, but I don’t want to stop it after this month. Every night at dinner for the last week, my wife, my daughter, and I have begun to say one thing that we are grateful for. Some days it is easier than others, but I think it is really helping. I notice that my daughter says thank you more freely and often now. When the twins start talking, we will bring them right into this new nightly tradition as well. I believe gratefulness is a vital building block for emotional health.