Just because greed is to be expected, it's not to be accepted.
Yesterday we discussed teaching children to respect material possessions. To continue the discussion we refer to "The Birth to Five Book," by Brenda Nixon. Part of her essay, "Grateful Not Greedy" is posted below.
Kids are naturally self-seeking. Our society focuses on acquisition, and while it may be more blessed to give, receiving really is more fun. So its understandable why youngsters aren't grateful.
However, just because greed is to be expected, it's not to be accepted. Gratitude is a matter of learning.
As a parent, the first and most influential teacher, you must teach your impressionable tot how to be appreciative. [As a nanny you must also teach children to be appreciative.] Facing life with an attitude of gratitude will help him be more happy and content. How do you communicate this valuable message? First, slow the greed avalanche right from the start by:
- Limiting TV viewing especially during the holidays when advertisers target [children] as a way to get into [the parents'] bank account.
- Setting limits on the number of birthday and holiday "wish list" items.
- Reminding [the child] that this list is suggestion only.
- Focusing on intangible wealth. Good friends, laughter, safety, and freedom are indeed welcomed gifts.
Second, you can live a grateful lifestyle. It has been said we are always teaching - sometimes we use words. Saying thank you to others or whispering grace before your meals can show gratitude. However, the most successful teaching tool is you. [The child] is a copycat and will act like you. Smile to show appreciation to the server who hands him a glass of milk; give generous hug to his teacher to appreciate her hard work at school; and write notes of thank you for gifts and kindness received. Your grateful behavior will teach your tyke to be grateful too.
Notice nature. It is easy to take our environment for granted. In these early, teachable years, encourage [the] child to appreciate the scenery that surrounds him.
Contrast [his] family with those less fortunate. Remind [the] child that there are people in your community who aren't as blessed: families without homes and sad, lonely people without family or friends. It's never too early to show gratitude for your family.
I like that Webster's dictionary says of thankfulness: "impressed with a sense of kindness received." This definition takes the focus off material possessions.
I believe that children who learn to be thankful early in life receive a permanent lesson in contented living.
The Birth to Five Book, by Brenda Nixon, Revell, 2009.
How do you teach children to appreciate all they have?