Gratitude is a powerful energy tool, taught by many famous career coaches, spiritual teachers, and business leaders. As I write this blog to you, know that it is always a constant journey for me to teach my own children this lesson.
You have probably spent a good deal of your own energy teaching your children to be polite and say "thank you". What we don't teach our children to do is say "thank you, more please". Believe it or not, this is a powerful manifesting phrase when done from a place of true gratitude and not lack.
What's important here is to understand the energy of gratitude. Your children might learn the words, but do they actual feel grateful? How do they even know what gratitude feels like?
Teaching Gratitude as an Energy
There are several ways to demonstrate the words of gratitude, but how do you show your children what gratitude is?
Express genuine gratitude in front of them and to them.
This can not be a fake situation. You have to truly feel grateful within yourself and then be willing to express it. Try and do this as often as possible. Maybe even make it part of your bedtime routine. Tell them what you are grateful for in regards to them and your lives together.
Point out their gratitude energy
When you catch them being authentically grateful, point it out. Ask them to notice how their body is feeling and what their mind is doing. Then label it for them at gratitude. This will start to match the vocabulary up with the sensations in their body. When you link feelings with words it commits it deeper to memory.
Surround them with grateful people
Negative people do have an impact on the way we feel and perceive our world. If your child is hearing someone in their life be negative, ask them to be careful. Similar to being diligent about cursing around your children, make negative comments bad words in your child's presence. Don't worry realists. Your child will get enough of the "real world" and you aren't going to be able to filter it all anyway. This isn't about sheltering them, it is about influencing them into a positive way of living.
Be Polite, but narrow in on the energy
If you try and tell them to be grateful about things they are not grateful for, you are loosing the point of the energy of gratitude. You can still teach them to be polite, offering a "thank you" when someone else makes an effort, even if they don't appreciate the effort. After these encounters happen discuss why you are expressing gratitude. Teach them to be grateful for the action of the other person, rather than just the output. Help them understand the difference between checked out politeness and authentic connection through gratitude.
We have to coach our children how to be polite, but sometimes we jump ahead and tell them how, when they may have an even better idea. Instead of dictating "write a thank you note" but instead ask them a more open ended question such as "how would you like to tall grandma how much you like your present and how grateful you are?" They often have more genuine ideas than we ever would.
For more on the energy of gratitude for grown ups, go to my Energy Awareness blog.